Japan and South Korea in spat over islets

Japan and South Korea in spat over islets

Chika Mori and Noriko Watanabe

Modern Tokyo Times

The administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida lodged a complaint against South Korea concerning the disputed region between both nations. This concerns the disputed Takeshima Islands (Japan name) – or Dokdo Islands (South Korea). Therefore, despite President Joe Biden of America recently visiting the region – and the joint protests of America, Japan, and South Korea concerning North Korea – negative issues remain between Japan and South Korea that continue to hinder better relations. 

Lee Jay Walker says, “President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea had hoped to start his time in office by developing better relations with Japan. In time this might happen. However, Kishida spurned a great opportunity despite positive words emanating from Yoon. This concerns Kishida turning down the opportunity to represent Japan during the ceremony that set the conditions for Yoon to take over the reins of power in South Korea. Hence, a golden opportunity was thrown away by the nationalist Kishida, who is on his anti-Russia crusade while also upping the ante against China in joint statements with America against the political elites in Beijing, related to his refusal to attend the inauguration of Yoon.”

North Korea also claims the disputed Takeshima / Dokdo region. Thus continuous political spats over this region by Japan and South Korea are welcomed by the political elites in Pyongyang under the leadership of Kim Jong Un (Kim Jong-un)

The latest maritime survey by South Korea – of this disputed region – was met by a swift rebuke from Japan. Hence, despite the continuing modernization of the armed forces of North Korea under Kim, the two nations with American military bases can’t mend the terrible legacy of history related to comfort women and other brutal deeds during Japan’s expansionist period after the Meiji Restoration and continued until the end of World War Two.

National Geographic reports, “In the middle of the Sea of Japan, almost equidistant between Japan and Korea, jut two seemingly inconsequential craggy islets. They are no larger than Grand Central Terminal and yet the Liancourt Rocks—or Dokdo Islands or Takeshima Islands depending on who is asking—are at the center of a diplomatic dispute between the two countries that goes back more than 300 years.”

Recent snubs against South Korea by the last three administrations in Japan under Shinzo Abe, Yoshihide Suga, and the current Kishida administration bodes ill – despite Yoon being more open to Japan and seeking a solution to the negative political tensions between both nations. 

NHK reports, “The Japan Coast Guard confirmed that the ship, Hae Yang 2000, was operating in Japan’s EEZ (Economic Exclusive Zone) northeast of the islands from Saturday to Sunday, trailing what looked like a cable in the water.”

It is hoped that Japan and South Korea can mend fences because the democratic angle alone should count for greater sincerity – not to mention the potent geopolitical dimensions of Northeast Asia. 

Lee Jay Walker says, “Kishida missed a great opportunity to improve ties with South Korea concerning the positive overtures made by Yoon. Hence, it is hoped that the latest territorial spat will bring about realpolitik – rather than petty nationalism.”

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