Diet to rake Lee, islet activists

Kyodo

The Diet affairs chiefs of the Democratic Party of Japan and Liberal Democratic Party agreed Friday to adopt Diet resolutions protesting South Korean President Lee Myung Bak’s recent visit to the group of islets controlled by South Korea and claimed by Japan.

The agreement reached by the DPJ’s Koriki Jojima and the LDP’s Fumio Kishida covers resolutions to be introduced in both houses of the Diet to protest Lee’s Aug. 10 visit to the isles known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.

They said they will seek the support of other parties in a bid to have both resolutions adopted unanimously.

The two main parties have yet to decide whether the resolutions will include language protesting Wednesday’s landing by Chinese activists on one of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea in another of Japan’s territorial disputes.

According to the Lower and Upper House secretariats, the Diet adopted a resolution over Takeshima in November 1953 but has never passed a resolution concerning the Senkakus.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak delivered a speech Aug. 14 demanding that Emperor Akihito apologize over Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula in the event that he wishes to travel to the country.

Four days earlier, Lee became the first South Korean president to visit the disputed islets in the Sea of Japan. The isles, which are controlled by South Korea, are located about halfway between the two countries.

On the Senkakus incident, a nonpartisan group of lawmakers issued a statement Thursday protesting the Chinese activists’ actions and urging Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government to deal sternly with the matter. They also called for security around the islets to be beefed up, for example by stationing government officials on the uninhabited outcroppings.

The Liberal Democratic Party issued a statement Thursday criticizing the activists and demanding Noda’s administration make public video footage of the incident from the Japan Coast Guard to “make the facts clear.” It also called for measures to boost Japan’s administration of the isles, such as stationing officials on them and nationalizing the land.

A separate statement by the LDP slammed Lee’s remarks about the Emperor as “extremely rude” and demanded he apologize and retract them. The party also urged the government to review bilateral policies toward South Korea, including a currency swap agreement.