Anti-Korean sentiment is growing in Japan with rightwing groups rallying in front of the Korean Embassy in Tokyo and plans to cancel Korean TV dramas after President Lee Myung-bak visited Dokdo last week and urged the Japanese emperor to apologize for Tokyo's wartime crimes.
Activists started protesting in front of the Korean Embassy in Tokyo at 8 a.m. on Wednesday using vehicles with blaring loudspeakers. The number of cars swelled from just three in the morning to around 20 by 1:15 p.m. and to 50 to 60 by 3 p.m. The groups apparently gathered in front of the embassy after visiting the militarist Yasukuni Shrine, which houses the remains of convicted war criminals among the country's war dead.
The protesters occupied two lanes out of a four-lane road in front of the embassy and shouted "President Lee Myung-bak must apologize to the emperor!" as well as calling on Koreans to leave Japan. The protesters referred to Koreans by derogatory terms and attempted to deliver a letter of protest.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government plans to reach an official decision as early as this week to take its dubious territorial claim to Korea's Dokdo islets to the International Court of Justice, the Sankei Shimbun reported. Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba said he had no choice but to take "corresponding measures" following Lee's visit to the islets.
The government here does not intend to respond to Japan's plans since the islets are already administered by Korea. A country can take a dispute to the ICT but needs the consent of the other party for the court to take any action.
Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun reported, meanwhile, that Tokyo is looking into scrapping a foreign-currency swap agreement signed with Seoul for emergency infusions of dollars in case of an economic crisis, as well as temporarily halting annual shuttle summits between the leaders of the two countries.