Diet members attend Dokdo-claim rally in Tokyo

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Diet members attend Dokdo-claim rally in Tokyo

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11일 도쿄 헌정기념관에서 열린 ‘다케시마(독도의 일본식 명칭) 문제의 조속한 해결을 요구하는 도쿄 집회’에서 야마구치 쓰요시 외무성 부상이 인사말을 하고 있다. [도쿄=연합뉴스]

Hundreds of Japanese, including government officials and lawmakers, attended a rally in Tokyo yesterday to lay fresh claim to Dokdo, Korea’s easternmost islets, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul is planning its response.

About 800 Japanese gathered at the constitutional government memorial near the National Diet Building in central Tokyo to say that the Korean-controlled islets are Japanese territory. Japan’s western Shimane Prefecture, which claims the islets within its jurisdiction, organized the event with a group of Japanese Diet members, who have dubbed themselves an alliance of lawmakers acting to safeguard Japanese territory.

It was the first time such a rally was held in the Japanese capital.

Shimane Prefecture has held such rallies yearly since 2006 on Feb. 22, which it has designated Takeshima Day. Takeshima is the name Japan has given Dokdo.

More government officials and lawmakers took part in the rally than ever before.

Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Japan’s parliamentary senior vice-minister for Foreign Affairs, and Akihisa Nagashima, a secretary for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and a senior director of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, attended.

More than 60 Japanese lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties supported the rally and 49 attended in person, including Yasuo Ichikawa, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan. The remaining 13 lawmakers sent representatives.

Yamaguchi said at the rally it is hard to resolve the sovereignty issue over the islets immediately, but Japan will try resolving it through patience.

Eriko Yamatani, an upper house member from the Liberal Democratic Party, heads the lawmakers’ group that co-hosted the event.

At the rally, she said that Korea is moving to strengthen its sovereignty claim to Dokdo and demanded that the Japanese government raise its Dokdo-related budget, currently set at 20 million yen ($24,606), comparing it with the 200-million-yen budget earmarked for the Kuril Islands, which Japan and Russia claim.

The rally came after the Japanese cabinet endorsed the latest edition of an annual foreign policy paper that renewed a claim to Dokdo last Friday.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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