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JCP welcomes agreement to avoid conflicts over disputed island: Koike

Concerning the disputed island of Takeshima, Japan and South Korea reached an agreement on April 22 that Japan cancels a survey of the waters surrounding the island and that South Korea will not make a proposal at an international conference in June to register Korean names for the area.

Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission Chair Koike Akira appeared on a Fuji TV program on April 23 and said that the avoidance of conflict by Japan and South Korea is welcomed.

Pointing out that historical evidence demonstrates the Japanese effective control over the island before Japan officially incorporated it in 1905, Koike said, "The Japanese government has reason for its claim that it has territorial rights to the island."

"At the same time, South Korea's claim must be taken into account since the 1905 incorporation took place at a time when Japan was pushing ahead with the colonization of the Korean Peninsula," Koike said.

He also stressed that the government needs to take the initiative for a diplomatic settlement based on rules applicable to the situations of both Takeshima and Senkaku Islands.

Koike pointed out that it should be recognized as Japan's diplomatic weakness that favorable conditions have not been created for the Japanese and South Korean leaders to engage in talks.

Stressing that Japan's diplomacy has reached a deadlock due to Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro's visits to Yasukuni Shrine, Koike said, "Closing its door to Asia, Koizumi diplomacy damages Japan's national interests."
- Akahata, April 24, 2006

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