North Korea slams Japan for territorial claims

Pyongyang's criticism targeted Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and called Japan’s claims "nonsensical sophistry."
By Elizabeth Shim  |  Jan. 26, 2016 at 1:33 PM
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SEOUL, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- North Korea lambasted Japan after Tokyo's foreign minister had said a group of disputed islets is Japanese territory.

Fumio Kishida had said Friday the territory is Japanese, although South Korea also lays claim to the islets known as Dokdo or Takeshima, news network YTN reported.

North Korea's state-controlled outlet Uriminzokkiri condemned the statement and said Japan's claim of sovereignty is "the ultimate effrontery."

The outlet frequently targets a South Korean audience and was at the center of a legal case last week when a South Korean man was partly acquitted of violating the South's anti-communist National Security Law after following the outlet's Twitter account and retweeting the source more than a hundred times.

On Tuesday, North Korea said the islets were legally Korean territory and slammed Japan's claims of sovereignty as "nonsensical sophistry."

North Korea also stated Korea discovered the uninhabitable islets a thousand years before Japan, and maintained the territory, something Japan "cannot deny."

The Japanese Foreign Minister has recently been in the spotlight in both Koreas for his remarks on Japan-Korea affairs.

Last week, Kishida said the term "sex slaves" should not be used to describe women who were forcibly recruited to military brothels during World War II.

Kishida said the description "doesn't match the facts," The Japan Times reported.

Conservative Japanese commentators have suggested the women knowingly volunteered to serve as wartime prostitutes.

A rift is also growing between the Japanese government and South Korean activists over a statue that has been placed outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul.

As part of a landmark agreement between Seoul and Tokyo, Japan had requested the statue's removal.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Kishida said the removal of the statue is important, and that it is part of the agreement that would allow the establishment of an $8.3 million restitution fund that would go toward the surviving comfort women.

There are now a total of 46 former comfort women in South Korea.

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