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Japanese lawmakers claim sovereignty over Dokdo

Updated June. 06, 2014 07:15

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More than 30 lawmakers and local governments claimed en masse that “Takeshima (Japanese name for Dokdo) belongs to Japanese territory” at a gathering in central Tokyo on Thursday. The Shinzo Abe administration, which has demanded a South Korea-Japan summit, also sent a vice-ministerial official to support the rally.

In its spokesman’s statement on the move in Japan, the Korean Foreign Affairs Ministry strongly protested, saying, “Japan is constantly making false claims regarding Korea’s sovereign territory.” The ministry summoned Hisashi Michigami, deputy chief of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, and conveyed Seoul’s message to that effect.

The gathering of Japanese lawmakers and officials took place on the first floor at the constitutional memorial hall in Nakata area in Tokyo at 11 a.m. on the day. Japanese lawmakers who got off large black sedans entered the auditorium one after another. A banner was hanging behind the podium, reading, “Tokyo gathering demanding early resolution of the Takeshima issue.” The assembly was co-hosted by the “union of lawmakers who take action to protect Japanese territory,” a non-partisan group of Japanese legislators, and the “Convention of Shimane Prefecture residents’ movement to demand repatriation of Takeshima and Northern Territories,” which is comprised of leaders from the prefecture.

Masazumi Gotoda, senior vice minister of the Japanese Cabinet Office, was the first to deliver a congratulatory address. He said, “Under a plan to strongly protect the lives and wealth of the people, territorial land, skies and waters of the nation, the government will make efforts to resolve the issue cool-mindedly and peacefully. The entire population must pool all energy to resolve the issue over Takeshima, which is our territory.”

Afterwards, representatives from different parties took the podium one after another. Blasting Korea, politicians instigated national sentiment among the Japanese people.” When Rep. Fumiki Sakurauchi, member of the Japan Restoration Party and ultra-rightest, said, “Korea’s illegal occupation of Takeshima is an issue of international law, and a matter related to the pride of the Japanese people,” audience members enthusiastically concurred, saying, “Yes, you are right!” Then Sakurauchi suddenly changed topic of his talk, saying, “Korea makes absurd claims that comfort women are ‘sex slaves.’”

Rep. Takako Suzuki of the opposition New Party Daichi spoke aloud, “A vice minister who was appointed by the Emperor (Japanese King) attended, and participants came from almost all political parties. However, no one attended from the Social Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party. I hope you remember without fail all the parties who have failed to attend today.”

The participants made a resolution demanding that the Cabinet approve the designation of Takeshima Day, which is February 22, and resolve the issue through all-out endeavors; and the government hosts a "Takeshima Day" event, and broadly appeal the issue to the international community, including unilateral referring of the case to the International Court of Justice, before concluding the gathering.