Sunday, August 2, 2009
* Image source/ description: same as below
'Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan'
Japan’s Opposition Rekindles Dokdo Dispute
Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan
By Kang Hyun-kyung
A leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) stood firm on his party's claim to the Dokdo Islets, Friday, indicating a territorial dispute will test Seoul-Tokyo relations if the Japanese opposition party wins the Aug. 30 general election.
Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the DPJ, told Korean correspondents based in Tokyo that his party's description of the rocky islets as Japan's territory in its campaign pledge reflected its traditional position.
"I think it's important for the two governments to try to understand their counterpart's position on the matter. Regarding Takeshima, it shouldn't be a big deal to state in textbooks that it is Japan's territory, in view of the fact that the Japanese government upholds the view," Okada was quoted as saying in Japanese.
He added both governments should handle the sensitive issue wisely.
DPJ's prospects of winning the race appear to be high, with recent polls showing the opposition party outpolling the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
A recent Nikkei survey showed that 20 percent of people who had previously described themselves as "undecided" now support the DPJ.
Only 6 percent of those polled said they would vote for the LDP, which has ruled Japan for more than a half-century.
Calling the Dokdo Islets Japan's northern territory, the opposition party said in its campaign booklet, released last week, that it would communicate with South Korea in order to settle the dispute peacefully.
Okada said the DPJ would respect past agreements signed between the two governments and maintain the principles of Seoul-Tokyo relations.
He also said that no discussions have been held as to whether Japan needs to issue an apology similar to the Murayama Statement of 1995 if his party wins the election.
Tomiichi Murayama, then Japanese prime minister, issued an apology in a statement to Asian nations on Aug. 15 on the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Okada made it clear that diplomatic normalization with North Korea will not come without settling the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by the North, as well as the North's dismantlement of its nuclear and missile programs.
The leader agreed on the need to impose sanctions on Pyongyang, saying the Stalinist country might become a de facto nuclear state unless the international community takes a tough stance now.
In its manifesto for the Aug. 30 election, the DPJ stated that the abductions were "a violation of Japan's sovereignty and a serious violation of human rights."
Okada indicated Japan could rewrite its pacifist Constitution if his party wins the election, saying that democracy allows a nation to rewrite its basic laws in response to a changing environment.
South Korean political parties expressed concerns over Japan's move to rewrite its Constitution in 2007, worrying that it could lead to militarism which would have ramifications on East Asia's security.
* Related articles
Dokdo Research Institute
A Collection of the historical articles on the Territorial Dispute Over Dok-do
Taft-Katsura_Agreement, July 29, 1905
* The Dok-do was forcefully merged by the Japanese imperialism during the period. Since then, the Korea restored it. The Japan with the imperialism desire has never abandoned it. The Dok-do has the invaluable energy resource. The WWII broght out fudamentally around the energy resource among the imperial countries, we should remind it.