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Japanese rep tweets about a war over Dokdo

Sept 02,2019
Japanese lawmaker Hodaka Maruyama caused a sensation on social media after he recommended Saturday to go to war to claim the Dokdo islets as Japan’s.

“Takeshima, the territory unique to Japan, is occupied by illegal occupants,” he wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday, using the Japanese name for the islets. “How do you get it back by means other than eliminating illegal occupiers by dispatching the Self-Defense Forces in various contingencies?”

Maruyama wrote the post after a group of Korean lawmakers visited the islets on Saturday. Six lawmakers, including three from the ruling Democratic Party, visited Dokdo and criticized the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for marking the islets as Japanese territory on its website.

Korea effectively controls Dokdo, islets in the East Sea also referred to as Liancourt Rocks, and maintains that there is no territorial dispute as it is Korean territory, historically, geographically and under international law. Japan also claims Dokdo as its territory.

“Look to this lawmaker Maruyama,” wrote a Korean user on Twitter on Sunday. “He thinks that Japan can claim Dokdo by going to war. Remember what it was like back in 1592 - they said there will be no war between Korea and Japan, yet there was. We have to be prepared for war now.”

Japan invaded Korea multiple times from 1592 to 1598. It annexed Korea from 1910 to 1945. “Maruyama apparently made a statement in May about going to war with Russia to get back the Southern Kurils,” wrote another user on Sunday. “At least the guy’s being consistently bad.”

Maruyama, 35, is a member of the Party to Protect the People from NHK, a fringe group. NHK is Japan’s national broadcaster. He was previously a member of the opposition party Nippon Ishin no Kai but was kicked out over his statement about the Southern Kurils in May. The Southern Kurils is a territory claimed by both Russia and Japan.

According to The Japan Times, Maruyama was on one of the four southernmost Kuril Islands on an excursion program when he reportedly asked another participant in the program what he thought about going to war with Russia to claim the island for Japan. When the participant said he did not wish to discuss going to war with anyone, The Japan Times report said, Maruyama said, “how else would we be able to claim it?”

He was reportedly drunk at the time of the conversation.

His comment was not well received by either opposition parties or the ruling party in Japan at the time.

His own party expelled him and, with the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, demanded Murayama resign as a lawmaker.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and coalition partner Komeito submitted a resolution to the Diet that described his conduct as “absolutely intolerable,” according to The Japan Times.

BY ESTHER CHUNG, SEO SEUNG-WOOK [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]