Japanese-South Korean conflict, also in Virginia, USA

This video says about itself:

Comfort Woman

19 March 2007

Through painting, a Korean woman breaks her 50 years of silence on being forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army during World War II.

From BusinessKorea:

Dokdo Dispute

S. Korea Denounces Japan‘s Teaching Manuals over Dokdo

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) — South Korea strongly denounced Japan‘s decision Tuesday to state its claim to Seoul’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in the new teaching manuals for Japanese textbooks for middle and high schools.

Earlier in the day, the education ministry in Japan announced its revision to the teaching manuals to claim Dokdo to be part of Japanese territory. The education minister justified the decision, saying it is only natural for a nation to teach its students about their own territory.

The foreign ministry in Seoul immediately condemned the decision, demanding the Japanese ministry withdraw the manuals over the claim to the South Korean islets.

“Through the latest teaching manual revision, Japan’s Shinzo Abe government laid groundless claims again over Dokdo, which historically, geographically and by international law belong to South Korea while trying to teach these wrong claims to its next generation,” the statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“Our government strongly denounced it and demands an immediate withdrawal. If the Japanese government does not answer the demand, our government will sternly take actions against (the manuals).”

The latest Japanese decision only shows that the country is still possessed by its past imperialism, the statement said, also expressing skepticism over the Abe administration’s so-called active pacifist policy.

“If Japan truly hopes to contribute to world peace, it should nurture minds of peace and reconciliation for its next generation, rather than planting the seed of conflict and dispute,” the statement also said.

As part of Seoul’s protest of the new manuals, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun summoned Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Koro Bessho earlier in the day to lodge a strong complaint over the Japanese move.

“Japan could open a bright future only when it faces up to its history and truth,” the South Korean vice minister was quoted by a foreign ministry official as saying in the meeting with Bessho.

It is worrying that the Japanese administration is misleading the country into its past reclusive nationalism, Kim was also quoted as saying.’

Earlier this month, Japan’s education ministry said it is planning to include its claims to Dokdo in separate guidelines used in making history and geography textbooks for middle and high schools, promoting angry reactions from Seoul.

Dokdo islets, which lie closer to South Korea in the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, have been a frequent source of Seoul-Tokyo diplomatic tensions.

Tokyo under the nationalist Shinzo Abe administration has bolstered its territorial claims to the rocky islets, driving a wedge between the two countries.

Abe’s visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine last month also added fuel to the already strained bilateral relationship, drawing indignation also from Beijing over the series of nationalist acts aimed at whitewashing and glorifying its imperialist history.

South Korea’s rival political parties also denounced Japan’s move in unison.

“Japan has starkly revealed its imperialist ambitions for a second territorial invasion,” Min Hyun-joo, spokeswoman of the ruling Saenuri Party, said.

She also demanded Tokyo withdraw its claims to Dokdo, warning that returning to militarism will have serious implications for Seoul-Tokyo relations and Japan’s future.

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) lashed out at the Abe administration, demanding it stop all provocative acts that are in violation of peace and order in Northeast Asia.

The revision to the teaching manuals is no different from a decision to teach distorted history to Japan’s future generations and an admission that the Japanese government does not repent for its past aggressions nor that it has any interest in building future-oriented ties with South Korea, DP floor spokesman Chyung Ho-joon said in a press briefing.

In a bid to better fight Japan’s such nationalistic moves, South Korea will push to launch an international project to compile books on Japan’s wartime atrocities, jointly with other nations victimized by Japan’s early 20th-century imperialism, according to the ministry official.

China and some Southeast Asian nations may join the project to look into wartime aggressions by Japan and publish them into books, he said.

From the Daily Press in the USA:

General Assembly: A heated debate in Virginia over the Sea of Japan

Controversy half a world away interests Canon, Japan, Korea, legislature

January 27, 2014

By Travis Fain, tfain@dailypress.com

RICHMOND – A bill suggesting that there might be two names for a body of water on the other side of the world has somehow managed to cross the line from legislative oddity to raw-wound international incident waiting to happen.

It flared tempers on the Virginia Senate floor last week. The Japanese embassy has hired five lobbyists to press its case. The embassy sent Gov. Terry McAuliffe a letter that reads a good bit like a threat, and its ambassador met with the speaker of the house on the matter.

An executive from Canon – the Japanese camera company with a large complex in Newport News – called a local state senator just to make its position clear on this bill: The company would prefer that Virginia not suggest the Sea of Japan might also be called the East Sea.

It wasn’t a threat, state Sen. John Miller said. More like “a statement of fact,” he said.

This is all about Senate Bill 2, which would require Virginia school books to note that the Sea of Japan is also called the East Sea.

This has been a priority for Korean Americans living in Virginia for some years now. The controversy has its roots in the 1920s, when “Sea of Japan” became the formal name for waters between Japan and the Korean peninsula, according to state Sen. Richard Black, R-Leesburg, one of this bill’s chief sponsors.

At the time, the peninsula was under Japanese control, and Koreans didn’t have a say in the naming, Black argued this week on the Senate floor.

Today, the South Korean government prefers the name “East Sea.”

The Japanese government does not. It also maintains that the “Sea of Japan” name far predates the country’s colonial expansion.

Dozens of Korean onlookers, and some Asian media, watched as the Virgina Senate passed the bill 32-4, a lopsided vote despite the most heated debate of a still-young legislative session. At one point state Sen. Tommy Norment, R-James City, chastized senators for failing to vote yes or no on the bill, in violation of Senate rules, and he forced a second recorded vote on the matter.

Miller, D-Newport News, was one of the no votes. He voted for philisophical reasons, he said.

“Virginia should not be telling textbook writers what to include and what not to include,” he said. “Where’s it going to stop? The next thing we’re going to be putting into is the Civil War is also known as the ‘War of Northern Aggression.'”

Miller said he feels no threat over the bill from Canon, which locals would love to see continue its expansion in Newport News. A local spokeswoman for the company did not return a Daily Press call for comment.

Neither did a spokesperson for the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.

An embassy official assured the Washington Post earlier this week, though, that Japan has no intention of retaliating through trade or business deals.

“The name of the Japan Sea is very important, but [business] is a totally different thing,” Yoshiyuki Yamada told the newspaper.

But the official embassy letter to McAuliffe – sent before he was inaugurated and signed by chief ambassador Kenichiro Sasae – calls the bill “highly problematic.” It says this bill and others like it have gotten a lot of media attention in Japan and “if enacted, I worry that Japanese affinity towards Virginia could be hampered.”

“Japan has been the second largest source of foreign direct investment in Virginia, with almost $1 billion dollars in the last five years,” the letter states.

“I would like to see such cooperation to be further promoted,” it continues. “I fear, however, that the positive cooperation and the strong economic ties between Japan and Virginia may be damaged if the bills are to be enacted.”

The Virginia Public Access Project’s online list of lobbyists shows that the Japanese embassy hired five lobbyists earlier this year, all from the high profile firm of McGuire Woods, and all hired to focus on “matters of interest to the Embassy of Japan.”

It’s not clear what chance Senate Bill 2 stands now that it’s in the House. Del. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, said he’s gotten a lot of email in favor it. It seems to be part of a mass-email campaign, he said.

Mason said he hasn’t heard from Canon, and he hadn’t looked at the bill as of Friday afternoon.

The governor’s office said McAuliffe doesn’t have a formal position on the bill, he’ll simply evaluate it when and if it reaches his desk.

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