News / Asia

    Tensions Remain Between Japan, S. Korea Over Disputed Island

    Masaru Sato, Assistant Press Secretary at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, holding a 16th-century map of Korea to explain Japan's claim to the island of Takeshima, August 22, 2012. (VOA/Miguel Quintana)Masaru Sato, Assistant Press Secretary at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, holding a 16th-century map of Korea to explain Japan's claim to the island of Takeshima, August 22, 2012. (VOA/Miguel Quintana)
    x
    Masaru Sato, Assistant Press Secretary at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, holding a 16th-century map of Korea to explain Japan's claim to the island of Takeshima, August 22, 2012. (VOA/Miguel Quintana)
    Masaru Sato, Assistant Press Secretary at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, holding a 16th-century map of Korea to explain Japan's claim to the island of Takeshima, August 22, 2012. (VOA/Miguel Quintana)
    TOKYO — Japan has returned its ambassador to South Korea after recalling him over a territorial dispute that involves an island in the Sea of Japan.  In Tokyo there are still signs that both countries remain far apart on the issue.

    Japan’s ambassador to South Korea has returned to Seoul.  He was recalled earlier this month after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to a disputed island in the Sea of Japan triggered a diplomatic crisis.

    The island is called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.

    The Japanese government sent a letter to South Korea on Tuesday, proposing to take the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  But Japanese media reported Wednesday the letter was on its way back to Tokyo.

    At a Japan Foreign Ministry press briefing, Assistant Press Secretary Masaru Sato said South Korea has rejected similar offers twice in the past, but he expressed hope that Seoul would finally accept to defer the matter to the ICJ.

    "Things have changed.  Korea is now advocating global Korea, and it is a responsible member of the United Nations.  If they believe their claim is justifiable, they should fairly and unequivocally accept Japan’s proposal," said Sato. "If they say no, we are seeking an amicable, peaceful solution.  There is no way to force them to agree to our proposal, but it is time for Korea to accept our proposals."

    Sato explained the Japanese government is preparing to take additional measures to deal with the crisis, depending on the way South Korea responds to its proposal.  But he also stressed that Japan is eager to find a peaceful settlement that will prevent the issue from affecting bilateral ties.

    “Japan-Korea relations are very important, not only economically, but also to maintain peace and stability in the region.  We do not want a deterioration of bilateral relations, and that is exactly why we would like to take an appropriate legal response.  We believe that Korea’s reactions have been very, very unusual, and we can say that it is a diplomatic aberration in terms of international practice," Sato explained.

    He also reiterated Japan’s claim to the island, saying historical documents confirm that Japan established its sovereignty over Takeshima by the mid 17th century, before incorporating it into one of its prefectures in 1905.  

    He said the United States has acknowledged the territory is an integral part of Japan by denying a South Korean attempt to claim it after World War Two.

    Seoul’s prompt rejection of the Japanese letter is likely to send shockwaves through diplomatic circles in Tokyo.  Japan’s national broadcaster NHK has called it an “unprecedented response” in terms of diplomatic protocol.

    With another territorial dispute with China lingering on over islands in the East China Sea, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s administration could find itself under renewed pressure from nationalist groups to adopt a stronger stance.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.