So, the Korean government’s response to Japan’s latest Dokdo provocation* is getting some criticism from left and right.
The Chosun Ilbo thinks this thing should have been handled in a much more low-key fashion:
Experts say the way Korea handled the entire matter was a disaster.
Lee Won-duk, a professor of international relations at Kookmin University, said, “Those Japanese lawmakers are small fry in the LDP, but Korea’s president, prime minister, the chairman of the ruling party, and the minister of special affairs all made an effort to stand up to them. That was extremely unwise.”
“The Japanese lawmakers were probably surprised and delighted to find the entire political world in Korea agitated as they watched the issue get bigger and bigger,” said Prof. Park Chul-hee of Seoul National University Graduate School of International Studies. “Maybe they’ll decide to come to Korea as a bigger group next time.”
Frankly, if trouble-making Japanese lawmakers want to waste money flying over to Korea to wait around in immigration for a couple of hours, that’s fine with me. Enjoy the bibimbaps, guys!
Anyway, the Hankyoreh issued a similarly critical article. One can’t avoid the suspicion, however, that if the government had underplayed it, they’d be issuing just as critical an article.
Also in the Hani, they discuss why Takushoku University professor Masao Shimojo got bounced:
The individual denied entry Sunday night was Masao Shimojo, a Takushoku University professor known to be a right-wing academic on the Dokdo issue. Shimojo, who has consistently argued for Japan’s possession of Dokdo, arrived at Incheon International Airport at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday but was denied entry and prevented from passing the immigration review desk. After remaining within the airport for another three to four hours, Shimojo reportedly returned to Japan aboard a plane early Monday morning.
Shimojo was originally scheduled to arrive and enter the country with the lawmakers at Gimpo International Airport on Monday, but he appears to have taken a detour beforehand.
A senior ruling Grand National Party (GNP) official said, “Shimojo is a de facto leader of this Ulleung Island visit, and he appears to have come as a ‘forward party’ for testing purposes,” referring to the fact that the South Korean government provided notification that it would be denying entry.
Now, barring foreign lawmakers from coming over to engage in nonsense, I’m perfectly OK with. I’d have asked questions if they DIDN’T do that. Banning a guy with a Korean wife who owns property in Korea, though, if not something I think should be encouraged.
Oh, and there appears to be some fighting within the GNP over this, too. At least on Twitter.
Moving on, the Chosun Ilbo notes that one of the Japanese lawmakers who tried to enter the country, Masahisa Sato, seems to have a thing for Korean islands. In January, Sato — a veteran of the Japanese Self-Defense Force, which I will refer to by its Korean name, 자위대, just because it makes me giggle — came to Yeonpyeong-do to survey the damage done by the North Korean shelling. And best of all, he video recorded it, warning — at least according to the Chosun — that the same thing could happen to Japan, and the locals should join with the military to defend the country, like they were doing in Yeonpyeong-do. I don’t speak Japanese, so all I see is a Japanese dude with a mustache standing in front of a bombed-out house:
Sato also has a talent for making bulletin board comments, like Japan would consider a missile strike on Dokdo as a strike on Japanese territory; that Japan’s annexation of Korea was legal in terms of international law; and that there are doubts as to the appropriateness of the term “colonial rule.”