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Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka said Tuesday that the government remains unable to find a solution to a dispute with South Korea over rights to islands in the Sea of Japan and a new fisheries pact.Earlier in the day, Muraoka met with Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi and Yoshinobu Shimamura, head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, but the three had little success in coming up with possible solutions.Late last month, Obuchi visited Seoul but failed to solve the issue with his South Korean counterpart, Yoo Chong Ha. “The government’s final decision on the matter will come later, after our consultation with the prime minister,” Muraoka told a regular press conference. The top government spokesman declined to give more details about what the three ministers discussed that morning.Tokyo and Seoul have yet to sign a new fisheries treaty following their ratification last year of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which allows them to set 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones around their shores. Demarcation of the zones, however, has proved difficult due to a bilateral territorial dispute over the ownership of islands in the Sea of Japan, known as Takeshima in Japan and Tok-do in South Korea.

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