Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Man Rams Truck into Gate of Japan's Seoul Embassy

At 4:55 a.m. on July 9th, a 62-year-old man from Seongnam City, South Korea drove a 1-ton truck into the front gate of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. Attached to the truck was a sign that read, "Dokdo Is Our Land." The man has been arrested.

(Photo from Joong-ang Ilbo Article HERE)

According to Seoul police, there were no injuries, but the front gate of the embassy has been pushed in about one meter.

The man told police that he was protesting a recent incident in which a Japanese man videotaped himself standing next to a "Comfort Women" memorial in front of the embassy with a stick that read, "Takeshima is Japanese Territory." Takeshima is the Japanese name for Dokdo, a small group of rocky islets that is the subject of a territorial dispute between Japan and South Korea. South Korea has illegally occupied the islets since the 1950s.

According to THIS Wall Street Journal blog article, police said the man had a hand-written note in his pocket that read as follows:
“... driving a stake at the comfort woman’s statue is doomed to God’s wrath. If I die please cremate me and scatter my ashes in the waters near Dokdo.”
The name "Comfort Women" was a euphemism that was once used by both Koreans and Japanese to refer to prostitutes, especially prostitutes for the military. Japan provided comfort women for its troops during World War II, and South Korea provided them for Korean and UN troops during the Korean War and beyond. The Korean newspaper Dong-a Ilbo reported in an October 1959 article HERE that there were 261,089 "comfort women" working in Korea in 1959 and that 66% of them were infected with a venereal disease.

UPDATE 1: In its report on the story HERE, United Press International (UPI) reports the Japanese protester videotaped himself with a sign reading "Dokdo is Japanese territory" when, in fact, the sign read, "Takeshima is Japanese territory." UPI also mistakenly reported the disputed islets are in the South China Sea when they are, in fact, in the Sea of Japan. Did UPI simply make a stupid mistake, or did they do it to avoid using the name Sea of Japan?
Nobuyuki later posted a video clip on his blog showing him setting up his protest, which read "Dokdo is Japanese territory," a reference to Japan's claim to the disputed islands in the South China Sea.
UPDATE 2: Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports HERE that the man who rammed his 1-ton truck into the gate of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea was put under arrest on July 12. That means he is now in jail because the judge fears he would try to repeat the crime since the man, himself said he would do so until his will was fulfilled.

One problem with the Yonhap News article is that it implies that it is only "Japan's extreme rightists" who claim "Dokdo is Japanese territory," when, in fact, the Japanese government makes the same claim and has the historical evidence to back it up, unlike Korea. Also, Yonhap also said the stick read "Dokdo is Japanese territory" when, in fact, it said, "Takeshima is Japanese territory." Takeshima is the Japanese name for Liancourt Rocks, which Koreans call "Dokdo." Here is the problem sentence from the Yonhap article:
The slim white post tied to the statue read "Dokdo is Japanese territory," a claim in line with those by Japan's extreme rightists.
UPDATE 3: THIS LINK has a YTN video of the Korean man ramming his truck into the front gate of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.

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