Couple returns home to a disputed island
Two of the three Koreans who are registered residents of Dokdo islet, Kim Seong-do and Kim Shin-yeol, moved back home yesterday after 10 years. The couple left the islet in 1996 after their house collapsed in a storm. Dokdo is claimed by both Japan and Korea.
The Maritime Ministry has repaired the couple’s home, and private groups raised funds to buy a new fishing boat for them.
Although the Japanese government has made no efforts to regain the island except for occasional assertions of its sovereignty and suggestions to take the matter to international arbitration, Koreans have been riled by incidents such as last year’s designation of Feb. 22 by Shimane prefecture as “Takeshima Day,” the island’s Japanese name. The timing of the announcement of the couple’s return to the islet was probably no coincidence.