Lee’s Dokdo visit stirs disputes with Japan

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Lee’s Dokdo visit stirs disputes with Japan

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The waters around Dokdo were stirred up all year.

On Aug. 10, President Lee Myung-bak made an unprecedented visit to Korea’s easternmost islets, which are also claimed by Japan, amid escalated tension between Seoul and Tokyo over territory and history issues.

Following Lee’s trip, bilateral relations quickly soured. Japan lodged a series of complaints and requested Korea take the Dokdo issue before the International Court of Justice.

Korea, however, rejected the request, saying that there are no grounds for a dispute.

President Lee had been constantly pressuring Japan over its past wartime misdeeds and its lack of consideration of Korean women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.

In December, President Lee raised the issue of Japan’s wartime misdeeds for the first time in a summit with then-Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

Even in March, several months before he went to the islets, President Lee warned that time is running out for Tokyo to settle the so-called comfort women issue because the victims are aging.

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