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Korea to counter Japan’s ad campaign

Publication Date : 12-09-2012


After a couple weeks of letup, tension is rekindling between Seoul and Tokyo over Dokdo as the two governments gear up for an advertisement blitz in Japanese newspapers.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry ran an advertisement in local newspapers Tuesday which reiterates its long-standing claim to Korea’s easternmost islets.

In response, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry announced its plan to launch an ad campaign countering Japan’s claim.

The Japanese ad appeared in about 70 dailies and is expected to last one week. That marks the Japanese government’s first official publication campaign at home.

“Korea insists that it has been effectively controlling Takeshima before Japan but its description in references is ambiguous and lacks clear evidence to back it up,” the ad reads. Takeshima is Dokdo’s Japanese name.

Seoul’s Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said in Oslo the Seoul government is readying to put an ad in Japanese media outlets that illustrate the islets are Korean territory “historically, geographically and under international law.”

“I’ll secure the budget for the ad,” he told reporters. “We’re exploring numerous ways including handing out Dokdo materials written in Japanese through Korean civic groups.”

Kim was accompanying President Lee Myung-bak on a four-nation tour.

The media hype came a day after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced a plan to unilaterally file a case with the International Court of Justice as one of his primary pledges.

He has vowed to step up public promotion for the territorial claim, during parliamentary sessions and news conferences in recent weeks.

Seoul’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young blasted the ad blitz as “farfetched.”

“The government strictly pointed out in a 1954 verbal note that Japan’s demand for an ICJ trial is a false claim under the mask of jurisdiction,” he told a regular press briefing.

“However, some 60 years later, Japan is still not moving forward into the future but rather backsliding such as by mentioning a one-side suit at the ICJ.”

Cho said the ministry is seeking a sharp budget increase for its project, apparently to bolster control over the country’s easternmost islets and secure an upper hand in the increasingly frequent diplomatic clash.

It has requested 4.2 billion won (US$3.7 million) for 2013, up a whopping 81 per cent from this year, a parliamentary document shows. The funds will chiefly be used for advertising and public relations.

Last week, the Japanese government set aside 600 million yen ($7.6 million) in Dokdo-related ad and promotion spending for next year.

The tit-for-tat came two days after the two leaders’ agreed to put the dispute to rest.

On Sunday, Lee and Noda had a quick meeting on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok, Russia. They agreed on the need to transform the bilateral ties into a future-oriented one, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba also held brief talks a day earlier.


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