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“Takeshima Day” celebrated on February 22

February 22, 2014

Wataru Takeshita, Chairman of the Party Organization and Campaign Headquarters, represented the Party in Matsue, Shimane at a ceremony to commemorate the prefecture's "Takeshima Day" on February 22. Chairman Takeshita highlighted the need for Japan to effectively communicate its position both at home and abroad, saying, "It is crucial for us to bring international public opinion to our side." After the ceremony, the Youth Division (Director: Yohei Matsumoto, Member of the House of Representatives) held a series of outdoor speeches to underscore the Party's firm resolve to deal with the Takeshima issue, the illegal occupation of Takeshima by South Korea for over 60 years.

"Takeshima Day" was established by an ordinance of the Shimane Prefectural Assembly in 2005 to commemorate the centennial of the Shimane Prefectural Notice of February 22, 1905 incorporating the islands into the prefecture. The day is meant to advance the early enforcement of territorial rights over Takeshima, and it is celebrated by the prefecture each year with a ceremony to draw public attention to the issue.
This year marked the ninth ceremony, attended by eleven LDP members, the largest delegation sent by any party. Chairman Takeshita, Youth Division Director Matsumoto, and Deputy Directors Keisuke Suzuki, Takashi Uto, and Akimasa Ishikawa represented Party Headquarters; Executive Acting Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda, and Members of the House of Councillors Kazuhiko Aoki and Saburo Shimada represented the local community; and Members of the House of Representatives Yoshiaki Harada and Kenji Yamada, and Member of the House of Councillors Masahisa Sato were also present. Parliamentary Secretary of the Cabinet Office Yoshitami Kameoka also attended on behalf of the government.
During the ceremony, Chairman Takeshita praised the strong commitment of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to solve the issues, including the remarks he made at the plenary session of the House of Councillors on January 30 that Japan could bring the matter on its own to the International Court of Justice (ICJ; The Hague, the Netherlands). He said, "Our only path forward is to seek a peaceful, diplomatic resolution. It is crucial that we relate the facts as they are and bring international public opinion to our side."
He also highlighted the importance of Japan-Korea relations, saying, "We will deal with territorial issues as territorial issues, but the Party will not engage in the kind of diplomacy that would sacrifice everything else for these issues."
Executive Acting Secretary-General Hosoda, speaking on behalf of the local community, said, "It has been more than 60 years since the islands were illegally occupied by South Korea, and we have, unfortunately, been unable to achieve what we want." He went on to emphasize that "your efforts are gradually bearing fruit," pointing to the second Abe cabinet's appointment of a Minister in charge of Ocean Policy and Territorial Issues and the creation of the "Office of Policy Planning and Coordination on Territory Sovereignty" (Cabinet Secretariat) to deal with territorial and sovereignty issues. He concluded his remarks by vowing to do everything possible to solve the problem, saying that "it is the duty of politicians from this area to give these efforts palpable form with the enforcement of territorial rights."
After the ceremony, the Youth Division hosted a series of speeches on the banks of Lake Shinji. Deputy Director Noriko Miyagawa and representatives of the Gifu and Tottori Youth Divisions spoke directly to the residents about their resolve to find a solution to the Takeshima issue.
Director Matsumoto, attending for the second year in a row, gave a powerful speech in which he characterized the issue as being "crucial to the protection of Japanese sovereignty and territory" and said, "it is a fight to protect our pride in ourselves as Japanese." He urged that the campaign to increase domestic public awareness be stepped up, saying, "These are my thoughts, and I will do everything in my power, working with my colleagues in the youth divisions around the country, to find a resolution."
The Party is committed to working steadfastly, in close coordination with the government, to enforce territorial rights over Takeshima as quickly as possible.

The Takeshima question becomes increasingly complex

In 1952, the "Syngman Rhee Line" was unilaterally declared by South Korea and Takeshima (Okinoshima, Shimane) was incorporated into the country's territory. While Korea continues to illegally occupy the islands, it is clearly and unequivocally Japanese territory in terms of both history and international law.
In recent years, however, South Korea has made the issue more complex by linking "comfort women" and other historical issues with Takeshima. To resolve the issue peacefully, the Japanese government must continue to engage tenaciously in diplomatic negotiations, and must also better communicate Japan's position, which is based on international law and facts, to the domestic and international public.

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