Monday, October 8, 2012

A Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter flew close on Sept. 21 to Dokdo, South Korean island claimed by Japan, prompting South Korea to mobilize fighter jets. The chopper left the area after being warned away by the South Korean military. One of the Japanese helicopters entered the area while conducting a takeoff and landing drill on a destroyer positioned some 50 km east of Dokdo. Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said that he saw no problems with the drill under international law because the incident occurred on the high seas. All foreign airplanes and ships must get approval from the South Korean military before entering Korea Air Defense Identification Zone, which was designated by the commander of the US Pacific Air Force Command in 1951 to prevent air clashes between nations surrounding the Korean Peninsula. Even though the Japan claims that they did not intentionally select Dokdo as the area in which to conduct the exercise, the Japanese Self-Defense Force did not gain prior approval to conduct the drills from the ministry's internal bureaus, apparently disregarding the principle of civilian control. This makes the credibility of the statement very doubtful. This is proof that Japan is trying to test Korea and provoke Korea by showing its ignorant attitude believing that the drill would not cause any problems just because they have sovereignty claims over the islands. Dokdo has been under South Korea's jurisdiction since the 1950s, when Korea gained independence from Japan. Moreover, Dokdo has been Korean territory even before the Japanese occupation. I am taken back by Japan's actions because Japan had no interest in the island until recent times when they realized Dokdo may have valuable resources. Even Japanese scholars and specialists have admitted that Dokdo belongs to Korea. Japan's actions to steal Dokdo is no different from their past imperialistic crimes during WWII.

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