Japan forms central government office to handle Dokdo

Posted on : 2013-02-06 16:34 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Forming of new office shows that Japan’s claim to Dokdo could now be made on a national, not just local, level

By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent

The Japanese government has set up the Territorial and Sovereign Issues Planning and Coordination Office among various government organizations. The Office will take charge of the issues of Dokdo, the Senkaku Islands (called the Diaoyu Islands in China), and the four disputed Kuril Islands. This is the first time that an office dedicated to Dokdo has been formed in the Japanese central government. This is being seen as an indication that the Japanese central government will be directly claiming Dokdo as Japanese territory, which up until this point has been spearheaded by Shimane Prefecture.

On Feb. 5, the Japanese government announced that it had combined the Northern Territorial Issue Office in the Cabinet Office, which deals with the dispute with Russia over the four Kuril islands, with the Takeshima Issue Measures Preparation Team, which had been established in the Cabinet Secretariat in Nov. 2012, in order to set up the Territorial and Sovereign Issues Planning and Coordination Office. Takeshima is the Japanese name for Dokdo.

“Our idea is for the Planning and Coordination Office to work closely with related ministries, maintaining readiness to respond to territorial and sovereignty issues, and also to educate the public on these issues,” said Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

“Japan needs to assess what happened in the past [related to territory], investigate the opinions of the other countries involved, and make its claims known domestically and internationally,” said Ichita Yamamoto, Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs. Yamamoto also announced plans to establish a committee of experts on territorial issues.

At a Feb. 5 press conference, South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson Cho Tae-young responded to Japan’s establishment of a office dedicated to Dokdo.

“This is an extremely regrettable action that shows that Japan has yet to reflect on its history of imperial plunder of Dokdo,” Cho said. “The Korean government strongly protests the move and urges Japan to immediately revoke this anachronistic measure.”


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