Activist attacks Japan’s ambassador
Kim Ki-joong, who identified himself as a civic activist promoting Korea’s territorial sovereignty on Dokdo, which is called Takeshima in Japan, threw a cell phone-sized piece of concrete at Shigeie after he gave a speech at the forum Wednesday in the Press Center in downtown Seoul.
“Minister Yu made a phone call to Ambassador Shigeie to express his regrets,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun said in a briefing yesterday. “What happened last night was completely unacceptable and we are feeling very regretful about it.”
The spokesman said the Korean government asked police to beef up security around the Japanese embassy and the ambassador. There has been no official complaint from the Japanese government, he said.
The Namdaemun police precinct arrested Kim, saying the 50-year-old premeditated the attack by bringing the piece of concrete in a paper bag.
Shigeie is scheduled to leave Korea on July 20 after completing a three-year posting. His time in Korea has been marked by constant diplomatic feuds over the small islets in Korea’s East Sea. The Foreign Ministry summoned Shigeie four times to file complaints about the dispute, mostly when Japan’s government approved textbooks describing Dokdo as Japanese territory. He was summoned in May 2008, July 2008, December 2009 and March 2010.
Masatoshi Muto, Shigeie’s successor and current ambassador to Kuwait, is expected to arrive in August.
By Jung Ha-won [email@example.com]