News / Asia

Japan Protests South Korean Media Tour to Disputed Isle

A set of remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese is seen in this picture taken from a helicopter August 10, 2012.
A set of remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese is seen in this picture taken from a helicopter August 10, 2012.
Japan has officially complained to South Korea about a trip to a disputed rocky island organized Thursday for selected foreign media organizations.
 
“We've already lodged a protest because the move is inconsistent with our country's position,” the Japanese foreign minister, Koichiro Gemba, told reporters in Tokyo on Friday.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, in a VOA interview, elaborated that for the South Korean government to transport correspondents via Seoul to the island is "totally unacceptable and extremely regrettable."
 
He said when the Japanese government learned Wednesday that the reporters, including at least one based in Tokyo, intended to accept the invitation from South Korea to take a helicopter ride to the islets Japan "strongly requested they refrain."
 
Some foreign media, on their own, have previously visited the islets, collectively known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, but rarely has South Korea's government attempted to organize a group trip.
 
A South Korean government attempt to take correspondents to the island by ship in April 2005 was unsuccessful due to bad weather but a second trip in August 2008 succeeded.
 
On Thursday, several media organizations including BBC, CNN, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, International Herald Tribune, Le Figaro and The Washington Post flew by helicopter to the largest western islet.
 
Japan's semi-official Kyodo news agency said the South Korean government-funded tour was “apparently sought to promote its claims to the islands.”
 
Several officials at South Korea's Foreign Ministry and the official Culture and Information Service (KOCIS), under the Ministry of Culture and Information, deny their entities were behind the controversial visit, contending it was organized by the Northeast Asia History Foundation. The foundation is a South Korean government-funded organization which is assertive in promoting Korean sovereignty over the disputed rocks.
 
“Because we did not organize the tour we have nothing to say,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman told VOA on condition he not be named.
 
But several of the reporters who were taken to the disputed territory say they were officially invited via South Korean government representatives.
 
“All indications are despite what South Korean officials declare today, the government here was intimately involved in planning this,” says Seoul Foreign Correspondents' Club president Steve Herman, who is VOA's bureau chief in the South Korean capital.
 
Herman said the trip was arranged without the involvement of the SFCC, where about 100 of the Club's 250 correspondent members represent Japanese news outlets.
 
Some Japanese reporters in Seoul say they would be hesitant to visit the disputed rocks under such arrangements because they view it as recognizing South Korea's claim to the territory.
 
Tensions have dramatically increased between Seoul and Tokyo in recent months over the long-disputed rocks located halfway between the Korean peninsula and Japan's main island.
 
The territory, also known internationally as the Liancourt Rocks, consists of two main islets and numerous smaller reefs composing a total land mass of less than 19 hectares.
 
South Korea's Defense Ministry on Friday told VOA that on September 21 it scrambled F-15 fighter jets after a Japan Self- Defense Forces destroyer and one of the ship's anti-submarine warfare SH-60 helicopters “violated” its air defense safety zone without prior authorization.
 
“This activity did not pose any issue under international law,” Japan's defense minister, Satoshi Morimoto, responded on Friday.
 
Officials in Seoul say the 4,200-ton warship turned around away after a radio warning was issued by the South Korean military.
 
Following an unprecedented visit to the disputed territory in August by South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, the Japanese government announced it had begun preparations to unilaterally take the dispute to the International Court of Justice.
 
That is expected to further strain deteriorating bilateral ties. The United States, which has military bases in both countries, has urged both governments to work out the dispute through consultation.
 
South Korea has had armed personnel on the remote island since the 1950s. Japan considers the rocks part of its Shimane prefecture and terms South Korea's occupation illegal.
 
Japan is also enmeshed in decades-old unresolved territorial disputes with China and Russia that have also flared again in recent months.
 
Youmi Kim in the VOA Seoul bureau contributed to this report.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Saito from: Japan
October 05, 2012 10:42 AM
The world should know - China is Arabs and Japan is Israel... Japanese people do not riot like monkeys in the streets... Japanese people respect order and decorum... China should be careful not to translate our dignity to mean cowardice... I can already sense Japanese nationalism getting strong again under Chinese provocations... China be careful how you behave, we are like Israel!!!
In Response

by: Brit Broxton from: U.S.A
October 05, 2012 1:25 PM
Just look at the thriving sex industry in Japan and tell me who are the Monkeys. :D
In Response

by: vindu16@yahoo.com from: U.S.A
October 05, 2012 12:36 PM
Japan is Japan. It is nothing like Isreal. China is a country with over 5000 years of history. Good and bad time we accept all our history and learn from them. The world already know a lot about bad japanese behaviors. Don't be naughty again.

by: HanSangYoon from: South Korea
October 05, 2012 10:39 AM
Japan has no rights to claim the islands since they didn't own the island. Korea settled on the islands since the AD 500s, and Japan invaded in the 1600s claiming it "theirs". And since Japan knows they would increase in possibility of retaking over this island, they're continuously begging Korea to take them to the ICJ. But consider another Japanese dispute problem, the China-Japan's Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands. China proposed the ICJ but Japan rejected it. Korea finds no reason why they should be going to the ICJ if they rejected the China-Japan ICJ. Japan must wake up and recognize three stuffs: Surrounding, Reality, and Truth.

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
October 05, 2012 10:19 AM
What's wrong with Japan? Now Japan is behaving like Germany in between WWI and WWII. Why Japan is conflicting with all its neighbors?
In Response

by: I love my country from: USA
October 05, 2012 11:40 AM
WHY? China is doing the same thing to its neighbors. WWIII soon in ASIA

by: Samurai from: Japan
October 05, 2012 7:32 AM
Why S. Korea does not fairly and squarely submit a claim to the Takeshima islets to the international court? Takeshima is an inherent Japanese territory in the interests of justice. S. Korea stole the islets when Japan has not attained independence after WWII. I expected that Koreans have also learned manners and ethics from Confucius, to no avail. Doesn't S.Korea know who will really help it when it is in dire straits such as collapse of N.Korea?
In Response

by: Antisamurai from: USA
October 05, 2012 9:09 PM
Japanese, Why don't you go International Court with China, Taiwan and Russia??
In Response

by: Korean Confucious from: Seoul
October 05, 2012 10:20 AM
Equally, Mr. Samurai, does Japan have no shame? When was honor not part of the culture you abided? Frankly, you stole Dokdo when Korea was being annexed by your imperialist government. Frankly speaking, wasn't Okinawa and Daiyou originally China before again Japan imperialist decided to annex it?

In the end, it's not a matter of culture but really about which historical event is more significant. And lastly, Japan doesn't aid unless their interest are met. That is with all sovereign nations. Simply put, it's not free and is intended to benefit Japan. Stop with this charade that Japan is superior because if you keep with this nationalism ignorance, then Japan will really be alone.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs