Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
  Global Views
Seoul Shifts Focus Back to History
A South Korean man burned himself with gasoline in a protest against Japan in front of Japanese Embassy in Seoul on March 18, 2005. The 54-year-old man, Huh Gyung-Wook, was taken to nearby hospital after she was a seriously burned. He is not in a critical condition. Shown at right is the man's father who was forced to serve in Japanese military during Pacific War. Huh said that his father labored for years "like a slave" in the military, developing a pneumonia. He argued that his father died of pneumonia in 1985 without getting any compensation from Japanese government. Huh is one of hundreds of Koreans protesting in front of Japanese Embassy against Shimane Prefecture's territorial claim to Dokdo which is owned by South Korea.

South Korea took a sharp turn in its dealings with Japan on Thursday (March 17, 2005) by announcing a set of principles that demand Tokyo apologize for its past actions and compensate Koreans victimized during World War II.

The move by the government of President Roh Moo Hyun came one day after the Shimane prefectural assembly passed an ordinance designating Feb. 22 as Takeshima Day, reiterating its jurisdiction over the disputed island that South Korea controls.

Until recently, Roh had indicated that his administration would not raise the history issue in bilateral relations between Japan and South Korea.

Now, the past is once again at the forefront.

South Korea now says a sincere apology from Japan for its past actions is the only acceptable manner to resolve the history issue.

The new set of principles also touches upon the approval of junior high school history textbooks that Seoul says distort history.

In addition, the new principles call for compensation to South Koreans forced to work as "comfort women"' during World War II as well as those who were in Hiroshima or Nagasaki when the United States dropped atomic bombs on those cities in the waning days of the war.

The statement read by Unification Minister Chung Dong Young outlining the new principles criticized the Takeshima Day ordinance and some junior high history textbooks as doing "serious damage to friendly ties between South Korea and Japan."

The Takeshima Day ordinance has touched off a diplomatic hornet's nest over the tiny islets over which both Japan and South Korea claim territorial jurisdiction.

The territory is known as "Tokto (Dokdo)" in Korean.

Chung's statement also called on Japan to gain the trust of its neighbors as "a first step toward becoming a nation respected for playing a leading role in the international community, including the U.N."

In Tokyo, Japanese government officials were urging South Korea to act calmly, but they were impotent to alleviate the increased hostility between the two nations over the century-old dispute.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters Thursday that the two nations should look toward the future.

"Overcoming emotional confrontation, we should take measures that are forward-looking and which consider ways of developing friendship into the future," Koizumi said. "Rather than only be concerned about the past, it is important for both sides to promote friendship through a future-oriented way of thinking."

Relations between Japan and South Korea had improved significantly with Roh in power. But in a March 1 speech, he called on Japan to apologize.

The Takeshima Day ordinance appears to have prompted Roh to take a tougher stance and demonstrate to the South Korean public that he is putting his words into action.

Tha above article is from The Asahi Shimbun.

Related Articles
    Tokyo Admits Document Identifying Dokdo as ...
    S. Korea Shows Contested Isles to Press
    Japan-S Korea Ties Take Turn for Worse
    Seoul Warns Japan over Island Row
    Japan's Move on Dokdo Makes Koreans Angry
    S. Korea Calls for Japan Apology
    Korean, Japanese Locked in Duel on Net






The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange