South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has filed an official complaint with the Japanese government over a recent survey conducted by the Cabinet Office which asked Japanese people about their opinion over the disputed Takeshima/Dokdo Islands. Seoul sees the survey as “renewed provocative actions” masking as a public survey over their ongoing territorial dispute.
The results of the survey were released on Thursday and showed that six out of ten Japanese believe that the Takeshima Islands belong to Japan, historically and legally. The statement from Seoul says that they find Japan’s claims to the islands “deplorable” and that they should “stop such actions immediately.” Lee Sang-deok, the acting director-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ northeast Asian department also personally called Takehiro Funakoshi, Japan’s political affairs minister to South Korea to protest this government move.
The survey showed that 63.1% of the respondents believe that Takeshima is now “unlawfully occupied” by South Korea, and 62% think of the group of islands as part of Shimane Prefecture. The Cabinet Office’s reason for conducting a survey was to gauge public opinion about this particular territorial issue to be able to come up with a well-informed policy in the future. While South Korea currently controls the islets, Japan has always maintained that they are part of Japanese territory due to history and legalities, causing strained relations between the two neighbouring countries. Japan has requested that the issue be brought before the International Court of Justice, but this has been repeatedly refused by Seoul.
[ via Yonhap News ]