Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Japanese Defense White Paper Repeats Dokdo Claim

The Japanese government on Tuesday reiterated its colonial claim to Korea's easternmost Dokdo islets in this year's defense white paper once again.

The policy document states that disputes over Japanese territories including "the Northern Territories [referring to the Kuril Islands] and Takeshima" remain unresolved. Takeshima is the Japanese name for Dokdo.

The defense white paper first included the claim in 2005.

Seoul summoned the Japanese ambassador and the Foreign Ministry here called for immediate deletion of the clause and a pledge that it will not be repeated.

In other areas, the white paper warns that North Korea's nuclear program and improved ballistic missiles pose serious threats to Japan's security. It estimates that North Korea is capable of hitting the mainland U.S. if it reduces the weight of nuclear weapons with a warhead less than one ton, as they are able to fly more than 10,000 km. North Korea "is pushing ahead with plans to develop more advance and longer-range missiles that could ultimately carry nuclear warheads," it said.

It laments China's "intrusion into Japan's territorial waters, its violation of Japan's airspace and even dangerous actions that could cause a contingency situation, which are extremely regrettable."

Amid the growing North Korean threat and increasing tension with China over territorial disputes, there are increasing calls in the island country to bolster its defense, it adds.

Japanese Historians Back Korean Sovereignty Over Dokdo

Four Japanese academics held a press conference in Busan on Tuesday to announce their support of Korea's sovereignty over the Dokdo islets. The four are members of a group opposed to Japan's flimsy colonial claim to the islets.

They stressed that Japan's claim to Dokdo is grounded in a history of invading neighboring countries.

In April, members of the group which includes historians, religious figures and activists, held protests in Tokyo and Osaka against Tokyo's shift to the far right in territorial issues and attempts to revise the country's pacifist constitution.
Japanese academics hold a press conference to announce their support of Koreas sovereignty over the Dokdo islets in Busan on Tuesday. Japanese academics hold a press conference to announce their support of Korea's sovereignty over the Dokdo islets in Busan on Tuesday.
Norio Kuboi, a retired professor at Momoyama Gakuin University, and Yoshihiro Kuroda, a former professor at Shoin Women's University, are part of the group.

"We perceive the Dokdo issue as a historical issue rather than a territorial one," Kuboi said. "Japan occupied Dokdo to better conduct the [1904-05] Russo-Japanese War, and Tokyo has since recognized it as its territory. Regarding it as a territorial issue is like glorifying an invasion rather than repenting for it."

The historians plan to visit Dokdo on Wednesday.

They produced historical records and photographs, including a copy of a Japanese map drawn in the 18th century. They said Japan's feudal government in 1775 acknowledged Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo by having cartographers spend three to four years redrawing a map that had mistakenly included the islets as well as Korea's Ulleung Island as part of Japanese territory.

"There are hundreds of other Japanese maps from the past that do not include Dokdo in Japanese territory," said Lee Sang-tae, a Korean historian.

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