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Magazine flirts with war scenario over Takeshima

45 Comments

South Korea's president Lee Myung Bak has been like the proverbial terrier, nipping at Japan's heels throughout the month of August. First over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' strong objections, he paid a visit to Takeshima (aka Dokdo in Korean) on Aug 8, and then upon his return, demanded that the emperor apologize for the wartime sex slaves.

Feelings are now running strong among the man on the street. In a survey of subscribers to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun's electronic edition, for example, 90% of respondents stated they found Lee's actions "inexcusable" and 30% said Japan should consider such economic sanctions as punitive tariffs.

"I don't think President Lee's incendiary actions were done merely to generate popularity at home," opines author Yasushi Nishimuta. "He may be provoking Japan as a means of building rapport with the North Koreans. In any event, the postwar system that has been in place in Japan all these years is finally starting to break down."

Should the territorial feud build up to a crescendo, the possibility of armed conflict cannot be ruled out. Asahi Geino (Aug 30) "opens the Pandora's box" as it puts it, with the simulation of a military clash over Takeshima/Dokdo between the Korean armed forces and Japan's Self Defense Forces.

South Korea has three times more personnel in its armed forces than Japan does, which is why some might consider Japan militarily incapable of wresting Takeshima back from Korea. But military affairs specialist Motoaki Kamiura thinks Japan could to it "quickly" using a quick action force aboard helicopters.

Mitsuhiro Sera, another military affairs specialist, agrees, saying Japan could snatch back possession of the islands in a matter of hours.

But Kenjiro Kato believes such an operation would require a complete mobilization of the armed forces.

"The first priority would be to deny the enemy deploying reinforcements," says Kato. "Japan's Maritime SDF is far superior in quality to the Korean navy; it would be able to take the initiative."

This would require the blockading Korea's Ulleungdo island, to the west of Takeshima, with its 10,000 inhabitants.

Here is where Japan's submarine fleet would show a decided advantage, as their more advanced subs can remain submerged about three times longer than the smaller Korean vessels.

Sera also points out that Japan has six Kongo-class Aegis missile destroyers to Korea's three, and the Japanese version boasts considerably more advanced technology.

In the air, the ROK has already deployed 20 of its F15K next-generation fighters, which may be technically superior to that of Japan's F15J.

"But Japanese pilots are more skilled, and as Japan already has early warning aircraft, Japan has the ability to respond quickly to threats from the air," says Sera.

"In 2006, an ROK citizens group found that during a simulated clash between Japan and Korea, the latter's navy would be defeated," a reporter at a nationally circulated newspaper relates. "Articles in the Korean vernacular media also raise the possibility of Korea being defeated by Japan."

Of course, wars, once begun, are not easily ended, which begs the question as to how Japan would manage in a protracted conflict.

"Japan would have to concentrate its military on the coast of the Sea of Japan," says Sera. "Korea would have to shift the bulk of its forces to the country's south, away from the DMZ. War is in the interest of neither side. The reality is that the JSDF would be restricted by its rules of engagement, and could not fight the same kind of war as the Korean military."

The aforementioned author Nishimuta notes that when Japan and the ROK began to negotiate diplomatic relations after the war, the issue of Takeshima was put on the back burner and the two sides instead concluded a "secret agreement," of which no written copies remain, in which they agreed to disagree.

Korea, asserts Asahi Geino, continues to disregard the secret agreement, setting up a heliport and lighthouse, and from 2006 sending tourists to the islands. President Lee not only went there to announce the use of the two islands as a base for oceanographic research but also inscribed his name on a rock. The magazine concludes that the best way to coerce Korea into de-escalating the tension is through vigorous countermeasures that fall short of armed conflict.

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

45 Comments
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nothing gets korea fired up more than bashing Japan

2 ( +9 / -7 )

"...after the war...they agreed to disagree."

So was the war worth it?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How about if they went to war with China?? Not sure if I really want to think about it, but Japan would be at a severe disadvantage without the US.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan is never going to get these pile of rocks back - the sooner they accept that and stop dwelling on the past, the better. There are so many chronic problems in Japan to deal with this is not even an issue.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

I can't see ROK just giving their isles to Japan, it would dishearten the people of SK. War would only come if Japan starts it cause ROK does not have to, they already have possession of the isles.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The war scenario is ridiculous. anyway id ROK turned to face Japan the Kims from up North would be over the border in a flash.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Boy that read like a fairy tale!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Wakarimasen

if ROK turned to face Japan the Kims from up North would be over the border in a flash.

Very true. And if the South attacked the Japanese mainland (presumably they'd have to at some point), the the Americans would be bound to defend Japan. And they've got their Eighth Army stationed in Seoul.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

ROK has no reason to attack Japan. ROK has he isles Japan wants. So if Japan attacked ROK the US may be defending ROK from Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A war would be disastrous for both countries. Can't see it happening.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Whatever the case..... Uncle Sam is just going to have to stand back and not show favoritism.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

You'd like to think that common sense would prevent countries going to war, or even contemplating war as a possibility over tiny isolated islands. But then again, remember the Falklands?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Doesn't the constitution forbid the use of force to settle disputes?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

An armed conflict between ROK and Japan will not happen as long as the US is involved with both nations at the level that it is; it simply will not come to war. ROK should be working to get back a much more substantial part of its land mass.... to the north.

China will be loving this. Japan should sincerely ask of ROK what it is they want, and attend to it as best they can in a mature legal process that leaves the outcome cemented in reason and history. ROK and Japan are going to have to be allies, and quick.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A war would be disastrous for both countries. Can't see it happening.

Exactly what people thought before WWI and WWII. When pushed to economic extremes, countries (or their leaders) will go to extremes to fight their way out of a corner they think they're in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Doesn't the constitution forbid the use of force to settle disputes?

Shhhh!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@BurakuminDes

Japan is never going to get these pile of rocks back - the sooner they accept that and stop dwelling on the past, the better.

The irony of that statement made me laugh... all South Korea does is bring up the past.... all of the bloody time.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

A war would be disastrous for both countries. Can't see it happening.

How many wars have been fought that were obviously going to be disasters for all from the start? War sometimes happens precisely because people can't see it happening! All wars begin stupid and are based on stupid people making stupid decisions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Doesn't the constitution forbid the use of force to settle disputes?

Yes. Which is precisely why induce the other guy to punch first, then claim self defense. Never underestimate the lengths a war monger is willing to go to to get the war he desires.

All they need to do is send one ship to try and land on Dokdo peacefully, ignore all warnings, and get shot at.

Or they could claim that Dokdo has already been invaded, as it is already Japanese, and then claim it needs defending. So its defense from the outset.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Two technilogically advanced countries will not go to war in the 21st century in my opinion. It would mean the deaths of tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, including my friends and loved ones... for a stupid little island. This isn't the Middle East we're talking about.

Besides, America would stop them... they ARE the world's police force after all.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

oh such depressing talks!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is stupid, the humanity is still spending much more money on wars than on exploration of outer space and other planets. Military is evil, both Korean and Japanese.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"war over Takeshima"

If these two governments actually go to war over these rocks, can those responsible for ordering military action be sued?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

AlternateUniverse

Yes. Which is precisely why induce the other guy to punch first, then claim self defense. Never underestimate the lengths a war monger is willing to go to to get the war he desires. All they need to do is send one ship to try and land on Dokdo peacefully, ignore all warnings, and get shot at. Or they could claim that Dokdo has already been invaded, as it is already Japanese, and then claim it needs defending. So its defense from the outset.

Actually article 9 of the Japanese constitution prohibits this as well if you read it closely.

ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Korea concedes Japan will quickly take the island because Japan's airforce and navy is roughly twice that of South Korea who have concentrated the last 60 years defending against North Korea's infantry. On the disputed island itself, has only about dozen coast guards. But Koreans don't fret, Korea's already talking about putting air and navy forces on the Ullungdo island to foil this plan by Japan. If this happens, it will be much more difficult for Japanese airforce and navy, because the distance (87miles from Ullungdo) is a total advantage for Korea. Japan may take the island in the short term, but in the long term, they better prepare for a long siege because nothing will rattle the Koreans more than Japan attacking Korea one more time. And LOL at the Japanese expert who says their fighter pilots are better. How does he even know this? Ah.. the racial superiority of the Japanese shines through again.. lol...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Of course, Japan would win because its military budget is several times larger than South Korea's!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I can't even imagine a war between Japan & South Korea. These 2 countries should be uniting to defeat North Korea who are a big problem to North East Asia and the world. China is as usual behind all these. They have quietly moved themselves away from world attention of their unjust claims over territories in all of the South China Sea against several countries, including Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei & Malaysia. One of their recent deeds was not to stop the Hongkong activists from sailing off from HK to the Senkaku islands which they had done before. Many countries are loathed to speak up against China in view of their economic might. Look at Cambodia for instance. Malaysia has been timidly quiet too. To sum up, the USA presence in Asia/Australia is not just a requirement now, it is an important prerequisite to continued future peace in otherwise economically booming Asia.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If Japan went to war with Korea, then the US would have to make a tough call. Should it side with anyone? If so, who? (Japan-likers would naturally prefer Japan, and Korea-likers would prefer Korea.)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Samuraiblue:

" Actually article 9 of the Japanese constitution prohibits this as well if you read it closely. ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. "

Yeah, but that gets back to the initial definition. If you assume that Dokdo/Takeshima is Japanese territory, then this is not an "international" dispute, but the defense of domestic territory.

Ironically, for the same reason Korea refuses to go to the ICJ.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan looted Korea during ww2 losing some small isles is a small price to pay for all the crimes it committed.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan keeps telling Korea they should go to the international court to settle this, Korea keeps refusing. From Japan's point of view, it would be win-win. If the International Court judges they are Japanese islands, Japan wins saying to the Japanese people: see, all along they were Japanese islands, and we've got the legal judgement to back it up. If the International Court judges they are Korean islands, Japan wins saying to the Japanese people: ok, we've gone through all the legal routes, it's all settled now, they are Korean islands, shut up and stop complaining. Once the islands issue is settled they can then get down to negotiating the maritime boundary through the Sea of Japan. Japan has nothing to lose from going to the International Court.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

WilliB

Yeah, but that gets back to the initial definition. If you assume that Dokdo/Takeshima is Japanese territory, then this is not an "international" dispute, but the defense of domestic territory.

That is called an international dispute since ownership is in contest with another nation in which case the constitution prohibts the SDF to engage. SDF can only engage in combat if Japan is attacked/invaded. As for Korea's refusal it is within their rights but they also require to provide an indepth reason of refusal to ICJ if and when Japan submits an appeal concerning the Takeshima ownership. This will place SK in a difficult position in the future if and when they need to make an appeal of their own to ICJ. In the simplest terms the nation of ROK will be branded as hypocrites.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Korea could be opened to ICJ if Japan shows example and go to court with Russia to the ICJ. Russia have asked Japan in the past, to the ICJ, and Japan has refused. If that's not possible, then Japan can demonstrate her bravery by asking China to agree on going to the ICJ. By persuading China and demonstrating the court battle will be fair and free from Japan money buying up world influence, Korea could be a lot open to the ICJ. But Japan has to demonstrate first that the ICJ court is free from any kind of economic influence or power politicking. That will do a lot to persuade Koreans that the ICJ is good ideal.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Russia have asked Japan in the past, to the ICJ, and Japan has refused

No they did not. Japan asked Russia in 1972 but was refused.

If that's not possible, then Japan can demonstrate her bravery by asking China to agree on going to the ICJ.

Again, this was addressed.

Funny. The "bravery" in this case would be tested by China whether or not to accept.

The mere fact that you are making up these excuses are obvious. Convince your governmet to take this up to the ICJ for you believe Korea's case is strong.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The northern territory has nothing to do with Takeshima, nor does Senkaku isles.

Trying to mix one with the other is just a tactic by the SK posters to evade from the fact.

Let's face it ROK is has ZERO confidence in presenting a winning arguement at ICJ. They also bring up ignorant remarks as vote buying with no evidence supporting their claim. If you do not want Owada to sit on the bench just say so AFTER you had accepted to take it up at the ICJ not BEFORE.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japan is the only country in the world that has disputes with ALL of its neighbors. The way it is handling each issue exposes the hypocrisy and two-faced nature of the Japanese government. Wake up, Japan, you lost World War II!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Edgar

Why does losing WW2 has anything with the dispute of Japan's sovereign territory especially when those territories where designated as Japanese by the the allies nation, victors of WW2?

Northern territories where invaded after the end of WW2, both Senkaku and Takeshima were acknowledge as Japanese territories under the San Franscico peace treaty signed by various nations. Sorry but your argument is flawed.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

both Senkaku and Takeshima were acknowledge as Japanese territories under the San Franscico peace treaty signed by various nations.

I wonder if this is true? and then SK did not know it? It seems that these isles have been historically Japan's territories since the Treaty.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

kwatt

ROK is more then aware of the situation since they logged a protest against the US when they heard of how the lines would be drawn within the treaty.

The unlawful occupation of Takeshima occured in 1954 two years after the San Franscico treaty had been signed.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

North East Asia is looking more like the middle east everyday.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Samurai Blue,

Have you even read the San Francisco Treaty? How about we start by spelling the word "San Francisco" correctly from now on. First off, the SF Treaty did not give you sovereign authority over Dokdo/Takeshima nor over the Senkaku territories. The treaty merely recognized Japan's sovereign intentions. No authority over the territories was granted. It's like telling someone, "I know you guys want it but take it up with the other guy." Quit using the SF Treaty as an excuse.

You keep saying Korea is not willing to go to the ICJ. Why would they? If Canada came to the US and declared New York and their territory, would the US agree to go the ICJ to contest it? No way, it's already their territory! You can't just suddenly lay claim to a territory after fifty years of silence.

You know when the last time Japan tried to claim Dokdo/Takeshima was??? 1964 my friend... A long time and it's quite a coincidence that Japan is doing this now when the Korean Culture Wave is occurring all over Asia. Perhaps it's a way to unite your countrymen against Korean culturalism invading your borders? That's a classic Japanese move.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I take that back. The San Francisco Treaty did not even refer to Dokdo or Takeshima. It was intentionally excluded. It was included in multiple drafts leaning towards Korean and Japan at various points. But ultimately was omitted in the final draft. Then how can one say Japan has any sovereignty over those islands?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We are in the 21st century, we have had a collapse of the banking system ,thousands in the first world homeless, jobless and with little future. Tens of millions in the third world die of easy to cure diseases and starve to death. Yet we humans who are "humane" care about crappy little rocks and use it to bash other countries and act patriotically (ie childishly).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm rooting for you Japan, the idea is good. The attempt is positive. Surprise!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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