Japan declares ‘illegal occupation’ of Korean-held islands

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Aug. 24 signed a resolution describing South Korea’s control of islands in the Sea of Japan as an “illegal occupation.” The resolution also calls for South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak to apologize and renounce comments he made during an Aug. 15 surprise visit to the disputed island territory. These comments included a request for Japan’s Emperor Akihito to apologize for the nation’s occupation of the Korean penninsula during World War II. The disputed islands, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, are believed to contain valuable natural gas deposits. Noda has threatened to refuse to meet with Myung-Bak at the of the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vladivostok set for September.

The hostility between Japan and South Korea over the islands escalated since Myung-Bak made his surprise visit to the islands last week. On Aug. 20, the government of Japan announced that it will file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague over the ongoing territorial dispute. South Korea immediately rejected the proposal. Then-Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro in March 2005 mentioned that the ICJ could be a good forum for resolving the dispute over the islands. Earlier in March 2005 a Japanese prefecture approved a symbolic resolution calling for the creation of “Takeshima Day” to celebrate Japan’s alleged sovereignty over the islands.

From Jurist, Aug. 25. Used with permission.

See our last post on the struggle for the Korean peninsula.