Same old songJapan is singing the same old tired tune on the Dokdo issue once again. In its annul defense white paper released last Thursday, Japan claimed ownership of the controversial group of islets in the East Sea.
The country continuously clings to this position, which does nothing but reignite the anger of Koreans still pained by the brutal Japanese occupation decades ago.
No matter how loudly Japan trumpets the issue, the islets irrefutably belong to Korea.
We are tired of talking about this and wish we could put the issue to bed for good.
Japan has been claiming the Korean-controlled islands as “inherent parts” of its territory in its annual defense paper since 2005.
We had hoped that this time around would be different.
The country’s new prime minister, Naoto Kan, recently offered an apology for causing Koreans pain during the occupation.
His words seemed more sincere than similar speeches officials have made in the past.
The apology, which came in a statement timed to the centennial of Japan’s annexation of the Korean Peninsula, seemed to signal the start of a renewed attempt to forge stronger ties between the two countries.
But the country’s renewed claims over the Dokdo islets just a month after the apology were both irksome and discouraging.
It seems we have been fooled yet again.
The defense white paper contains much of the same wording Japan has used in the past, saying that the dispute over the islet has yet to be resolved.
It is concerning to see that nothing has changed with the power shift from the Liberal Democratic Party to the Democratic Party.
It’s another sign that we are still far from reaching closure when it comes to our bitter past with Japan and serves as a wake-up call that truly improving our relations with the country remains a distant goal.
Japan has been riling us up with these claims for years now, souring our relations just when it appears we are moving forward.
We eventually reconcile and then start over, repeating the whole cycle.
The islets belong to Korea from a historical, geographical and legal perspective. That won’t change no matter how loud and long Japan makes its claims.
If the government really has the best interests of its people at heart, it should end this dispute once and for all as a way to push forward bilateral relations.
We would like to see Japanese politicians and leaders truly step up and take action on this issue.