How Much Further Can Abe Go?

      February 03, 2014 13:38

      The administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is threatening the very basis of Seoul-Tokyo relations. After constant denials that the Japanese government had anything to do with forcing women to serve as sex slaves for the Imperial Army during World War II and paying homage at a shrine honoring war criminals, Abe has now said he wants to take his country's flimsy colonial claim to Korea's Dokdo islets to the International Court of Justice.

      The comments come only a few days after Japan's Education Ministry approved new guidelines that would teach schoolchildren that Dokdo belongs to Japan.

      No matter how much Abe huffs and puffs, it is impossible to take any case to the ICJ without the consent of the opposing party. He knows that perfectly well. Yet each time Seoul-Tokyo relations become strained, the Japanese government has used the ICJ threat as if it was some terrifying weapon. The last time it used the threat was when former President Lee Myung-bak visited Dokdo in 2012.

      In October last year, Tokyo distributed a video detailing the claim, and in December it created a ministerial post to handle sovereignty issues. Last month it created an office under the prime minister tasked with dealing with territorial disputes. The Abe administration is clearly determined to be seen to throw its whole weight behind these matters, which also include bona-fide disputes with China and Russia.

      The question is how much further Tokyo can go. It could for example dispatch research ships to waters near Dokdo, or rightwing Japanese groups could attempt to land on the Korean islets. That would cause bilateral relations of a degree unprecedented since the war.

      In November last year, Abe attended a meeting in Tokyo by the Korea-Japan Cooperation Committee and voiced his desire to improve relations, while stressing the importance of the strong alliance between Korea, the U.S. and Japan. Now he seems ready to throw everything away. Heaven knows where his diplomatic priorities lie.

      Park, Xi to Meet on Sidelines of Nuclear Summit
      Park to Meet Abe in Three-Way Summit with Obama
      Abe Still Pushing for Summit with Park
      U.S. Maintains Entry Ban for Japanese War Criminals
      Prospects Bleak for Korea-Japan-U.S. Summit
      Japanese Vice FM Cuts Short Korea Visit
      Korean, Japanese Vice Foreign Ministers to Meet in Seoul
      Korean FM Slams Japan at UN
      Foreign Minister to Take Sex Slave Issue to UN
      Ex-Japanese Premier Murayama Visits Seoul
      U.S. Senate Urges Kerry to Act on 'Comfort Women'
      U.S. Can No Longer Overlook Japan's Lurch to the Far Right
      Japan Defiant Over Long March to Far Right
      Japanese Paper Slams Park's Reluctance to Work with Tokyo
      Abe Angers Neighbors with War Shrine Visit
      U.S. Concerned About Seoul-Tokyo Conflict
      More 'Comfort Women' Proof Turns Up
      Abe Keeps Pushing for Summit with Park
      Don't Visit Yasukuni Shrine, Kurt Campbell Tells Abe
      Abe Makes Another Offering to Yasukuni Shrine
      Japanese Press Sees No East-Asian Summit This Year
      Korea, Japan Need to Make Sure They Can Work Together
      Kerry, Hagel Dodge Militarist Shrine in Japan
      Abe's Far-Right Lurch Wins Alarming Popular Support
      Abe Ditches Tradition of Expressing Remorse for WWII
      Japanese Cabinet Ministers Visit Yasukuni War Shrine
      Japan's Abe Won't Visit Yasukuni Shrine
      Japan to Allow Use of Imperial Flag
      Japanese Groups Join Push to Honor Former Sex Slaves
      Japan's Deputy PM Forced to Retract Nazi Comment
      New Chauvinist Wave in Japan as Minister Slams Koreans
      Abe's Bloc Wins Big in Japan's Upper House Vote
      Japan Snubs UN Plea Over Sex Slaves
      Ex-White House Official Warns Japan Over Whitewash
      UN Slams Japan's Treatment of Former Sex Slaves
      Global Press Slams Japan's Lurch to the Right
      Amnesty International Blasts Japan
      UN Tells Japan to Educate Citizens About Sex Slave Atrocity
      S.Korea, Japan, U.S. Vow to Stand Firm Against N.Korea
      U.S. Envoy Blasts Japan Over Sex Slaves
      • Copyright © Chosunilbo &
      이전 기사 다음 기사
      기사 목록 맨 위로