More rightwing Japanese lawmakers want to visit Korea to draw attention to Tokyo's dubious claim to the Dokdo islets. On Monday, three members of Japan's conservative Liberal Democratic Party were turned back at Gimpo Airport in Seoul on their way to Ulleung Island, the nearest easily accessible island to Dokdo, but managed to squeeze maximum publicity out of the situation by staging a sit-in that brought the Japanese ambassador to their side.
LDP lawmakers Katsuei Hirasawa and Hakubun Shimomura have now pledged to visit Ulleung Island in September after the regular session of the Japanese Diet comes to an end, the Japanese press reported on Wednesday.
Shimomura urged all LDP lawmakers to take turns visiting Ulleung.
Hirasawa, who had earlier decided to cancel his trip at the last minute, claimed on his website that he would now visit the island in September. "I didn't give up but put it off the visit for about a month," he said.
Masahisa Sato, one of the three who were turned back, said on Twitter he wants to include Ulleung in the overseas travel itinerary for members of the Japanese House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee.
A suprapartisan group of Japanese lawmakers who are pledged to defend "Japanese territory" in a statement said, "We cannot understand why the Korean government refused entry to Japanese lawmakers who were fulfilling their political duties for the same reason it would give for terrorists. All of Japan should respond to this."
The group includes members of the ruling Democratic Party, such as former interior minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi.
Critics say the way the Korean government has handled the issue only provided fodder to Japanese rightwingers. One Korean businessman in Tokyo said, "Obscure Japanese politicians became famous overnight after a headline-grabbing stunt in Korea. I'm worried that more Japanese politicians will try to take advantage of such stunts as a chance to make a name for themselves."