News / Asia

    Japan Increases Rhetoric Against S. Korea Over Island Dispute

    Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks during a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo,  August 24, 2012.
    Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks during a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo, August 24, 2012.
    TOKYO — Japan's top government officials and lawmakers are continuing to turn up the heat on two neighboring countries with claims on islands that Japan considers its own.

    While calling on South Korea to respond to the territorial dispute in a wise and cautious manner, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's remarks at a Tokyo news conference Friday evening are likely to do little to ease rising diplomatic tensions with both Seoul and Beijing.

    Noda tells reporters Japan will strengthen measures to secure its surrounding waters.

    In a tough 10 minute opening statement, the Japanese prime minister asserted his country's territorial claims noting while it may be 61st in land size Japan's expansive maritime waters make it the world's sixth biggest sea power. When the depths of those waters are also taken into consideration, Noda asserts, Japan is number four.

    Such boasts from a Japanese leader have been rare since the country's unconditional surrender in 1945. The defeat brought to an end the Pacific War and instantly eradicated Japan's half-century of brutal colonial expansionism.

    Hours before Noda's news conference, South Korea lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Japan after both the prime minister and the foreign minister characterized South Korea's control of a disputed small island territory as an “illegal occupation”

    South Korea's protest calls “unjustified” the Japanese claim to rocks nearly equidistant between the Korean peninsula and Japan's main island of Honshu.

    Known internationally as the Liancourt Rocks, they cover a total area of less than one-fifth of a square kilometer. South Korea calls the territory Dokdo while the Japanese also claim them under the name of Takeshima.

    An unprecedented August 10th visit to one of the rocks by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak angered Japanese.


    Tensions Affect Diplomacy, Economics

    South Korea's president has also raised Japanese emotions by using what the Japanese perceive as course language directed at Emperor Akihito.

    Lee, earlier this month, said it would not be possible for the Japanese monarch to visit South Korea unless he offers a heartfelt apology for Japan's past colonization of the Korean peninsula. The South Korean president contended that a repeat of the Emperor's 1990 expression of “deepest regrets” would not be adequate.

    The escalation of domestic tensions is spilling into economic relations, as well.

    Japanese finance minister Jun Azumi acknowledges the tensions are influencing decisions on whether Tokyo will extend a currency swap arrangement with Seoul as well as Japanese purchases of South Korean government debt.

    In a symbolic but rare action, Japan's parliament Friday adopted resolutions calling South Korea's recent actions and a successful landing by Chinese activists on a Japanese-held island “extremely regrettable.”

    The Japan-China feud involves small islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

    In response to the landing by Hong Kong-based activists, the right-wing governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, is requesting permission for the metropolitan government to sail to the islands. Past requests have been refused by the central government but Prime Minister Noda says no decision has yet been made on whether the Tokyo request will be granted.

    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: tmt from: Japan
    August 25, 2012 7:35 AM
    Syngman Rhee Line was obviously illegal.

    by: Samurai from: Japan
    August 24, 2012 11:14 AM
    Both Korea and Japan have a pride. Korean people regard the annexation by Japan as dishonor. Japanese people regard President Lee's landing on the Japan's inherent territory "Takeshima" as insult and his terms to his Imperial Majesty as rudeness (corresponding to a so-called "High-Crime"). The reason why Japan was compelled to annex Korea is unambiguous to the people who have learned the truthful world history, i.e., Russia's go-southward policy. In Korea at that time, Korean imperial family members were exclusively engaged in struggle for power, and it was obvious that if that situation had been left as it was, Russia's big appetite would have swallowed Korea. If Korea had been swallowed by Russia, Japan also would have been occupied by Russia. Therefore, Japan involuntarily annexed Korea after consulting with the world community (especially, US and G.B,). Still now, Koreans hold grudge against the annexation by Japan. They should realize that they are happy because not being under the rule of Russia. Holding persisting grudge is one of the conspicuous characteristics of Koreans; however holding grudge does not lead to "Global Korea". It is a blessed relief that most of intelligent Korean people appreciate the annexation by Japan in a calm manner. Both nations should not be in a cat-and-dog relation but be aware of who is real enemy of both countries.
    In Response

    by: tmt from: Japan
    August 25, 2012 7:24 PM
    >Jonathan Huang

    Syngman Rhee line was illegal.
    but most of all the south korean do not know on this.
    because south korean gov have been distorting history.

    GHQ was going to burn the shrine.
    but they didnt.
    what do you think about ?
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    August 25, 2012 12:31 AM
    Thank yuo Samurai from Japan, you are the very evident to show evil Japanese fake history teaching. And now Japan is still worshipping those war criminals in a shrine even International court judged those were war criminals but Japan doesnt admit it. It is exactly why Korean and Chinese hate Japan.
    In Response

    by: Westmau from: US
    August 24, 2012 10:25 PM
    Who is now the real enemy of both South Korea and Japan then?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 '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 Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    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.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.