News / Asia

    S. Korea to Return Japan's Protest Letter Amid Island Dispute

    VOA News
    A simmering territorial dispute between South Korea and Japan continued Thursday, with Seoul saying it would return a protest letter sent by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

    Prime Minister Noda sent the letter to protest South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's recent visit to a group of rocky islands controlled by Seoul but claimed by both countries.

    Seoul says it is returning the letter on the grounds that it is contains inaccuracies regarding the islands, known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan.

    The letter also expressed regret at Lee's recent comments that Japan's Emperor Akihito should apologize for his country's colonial rule of South Korea.

    Relations between the two Asian neighbors have soured since Lee's August 10 visit, which was the first ever by a South Korean president.

    Earlier this week, South Korea dismissed a proposal by Japan to take the decades-old dispute to the International Court of Justice.

    The disagreement has also jeopardized talks between Japanese Prime Minister Noda and President Lee that were slated for next month on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Forum.

    Tokyo is also reportedly considering whether to call off a soon-expiring currency swap deal with South Korea, as well as several other diplomatic or economic measures in response to Lee's visit to the islands.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of South Korean protesters staged a rally in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul Thursday, denouncing Japan's claim to the islands.

    Activist pumped their fists, chanted anti-Japan slogans and wore headbands emblazoned with words defending South Korea's claim over the string of islands.
     
    The largely uninhabited islets have been under effective South Korean control since the end of Japanese colonial rule after World War II.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Nonpartisan Critic from: Worldwide
    August 23, 2012 6:58 AM
    It's a bit puzzling, but as objective as you may have attempted, it appears to make Korea the transgressor. Korea has been waiting and waiting to bring these historical issues to the global attention. Yet, this article clearly doesn't even mention the real issue. Instead, you address Japan as the victim and Korea the transgressor. Why don't you mention the one historical aspect that keeps bringing the tensions high in the North East Asia region? Wouldn't that be more reflective of accurate reporting. Then again, as the publishing name states, it's the Voice of America. Most North East Asian region understands that America generally advocates on Japan's behalf. If you wish to refute these claims, then please start shedding light to what really happened in the past.

    Here are some interesting facts you should notate. The territory in dispute was determined not by the bilateral countries, but by the United States. In addition, this island was originally part of Korea's territory prior to Japan's annexation. The contract clearly stipulates to unconditionally return all of Korea's territory.And lastly, the millions of civilians massacred, sexual bondage, and human genetic experiments were apparently ignored... Continual ignorance to these outstanding issues will eventually further marginalize U.S. interests in the North East region.

    So as a journalist, if this article is of U.S. interests then think of a more balanced report.
    In Response

    by: HHI from: US
    August 23, 2012 8:11 PM
    It's been an issue hardly squared between the two nations... but I'm telling you this had never been a CRITICAL conflict that would mess up their economical partnarship or cultural intraction. Now why this?? Because of the enemy of Japanese and the shame of Korean. Lee Myon-Bak. He has messed up all the people's efforts just by trigering a chain of naive conflicts in the worst occasion just for his upcoming election. Please Korean people be aware that tehre should be much smarter Korean leaders to guide your nation.
    In Response

    by: Doggyhorse from: Japan
    August 23, 2012 7:43 PM
    I think this article of voa is fairly objective. I agree to the comments of tmt and Summer completely as they are historically correct. Korea should go to the international court with Japan if they think their occupation of the disputed island rightfully belong to them. Why hesitate to do so? Comfort women's issue had been settled with compensations made. Because of the recent incident, I came to dislike Koreans. I also came to think more that Japan should be more assertive not to be just bring attacked by other neighboring nations.
    In Response

    by: James from: GZ
    August 23, 2012 4:14 PM
    Summer,NO sexual bondage? what, are you eight? See, Japanese never make a sincere apology to neighbors for what they had done in World War II.
    In Response

    by: tmt from: Japan
    August 23, 2012 1:20 PM
    >The largely uninhabited islets have been under effective South Korean control since the end of Japanese colonial rule after World War II.
    this sentence is not correct. Syngman Rhee invaded the islands after he declared "Syngman Rhee Line" in 1952 know as "Peace Line" in south korea.
    the U.S. government maintained that the one-sided declaration of the Syngman Rhee Line was illegal under international law.
    In Response

    by: Sing from: USA
    August 23, 2012 11:43 AM
    Summer in Japan how old are you? How you can say that there is no evidence of sex slaves ( I do not call them comfort women just a beautification of a war crimes). If they have compensated all the victims how is still today they are seeking compensation is the wrong words it should be restitutions for the imperialist Japs. History cannot be changed by beautiful words and lies.
    In Response

    by: Summer from: Tokyo
    August 23, 2012 9:59 AM
    I think this article is fair.

    One thing that I'd like to mention is, that there were confort women in Japanese army but NO sexual bondage!
    Those confort women had highly paid and free to quit their job, not forced by Japanese army. Moreover, Japan already had paid huge compensation for confort women in 1965. Also Japan raised the Asian Women Fund for them.

    There's no reliable evidence concerns "forced" sexial slaves. I feel that Korean's intend to get anther compensation for human rights claim, which can get world's sympathy easily.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora