ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Tokyo may delay ICJ case on island dispute with S. Korea
Publication Date : 10-01-2013
The Japanese government is considering postponing its plan to unilaterally refer its dispute with South Korea over the Takeshima islets to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The move reflects the stance of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who wants to mend strained relations with Seoul in cooperation with South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye.
The government considers it better to put the issue regarding the Shimane Prefecture islets on the back burner for the time being based on the judgement that early unilateral action will likely invite a backlash from South Korea.
As part of its response to President Lee Myung-bak's August 10, 2012, landing on Takeshima, called Dokdo in South Korea, Tokyo proposed to Seoul that the two governments jointly refer the territorial row to the ICJ.
Following South Korea's rejection, Japan has been considering unilateral action on the matter.
The Abe administration, which still considers it desirable to resolve the dispute at the ICJ, plans to put off action for now while waiting to see how the new South Korean administration will act.
Abe attaches importance to relations with South Korea, which shares Japan's values on democracy and the market economy. In an effort to improve the bilateral relationship, he wants to meet with Park when he visits Seoul to attend her presidential inauguration ceremony scheduled for February 25.
Abe hopes to see the improved ties with Seoul serve as a bulwark against China, which has been increasing pressure on Japan over the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.
The ICJ is a standing UN judicial body to judge territorial and other disputes between states. For the court to start proceedings on a case that was not filed jointly, it is necessary for a defendant country to approve it upon the filing of the case by a plaintiff country.