Japanese stake heart of Korea
“‘Takeshima’ is Japanese territory,” stated the white, 90-centimeter- long stake painted with the red orb of the Japanese flag, in Korean and Japanese text, referring to the South Korean territory Dokdo.
The stake was tied to a bronze statue of a young girl, sitting in a chair wearing traditional Korean hanbok with her fists tightened and her eyes wide open, a monument built in memory of the women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military in World War II during their colonial occupation here.
Two Japanese extremists, including Nobuyuki Suzuki, 47, had placed the stake, claiming the Dokdo islets are Japanese territory, onto the statue in front of the Japanese Embassy in Jongno, Seoul on Tuesday.
“The police are carrying out investigations to find out what happened. Currently, we have no plans to file a complaint to the Japanese government because it was not a government action,” a foreign ministry representative told the Korea Times. “But as a civilian, it is an extremely regrettable incident.” Japan, which ruled the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945, has repeatedly laid claim to the Dokdo islets despite the Korean Coast Guard currently in the area.
Suzuki, an extreme-rightist and self-proclaimed patriot, was accused of tying the stake down while a man in his 20s videoed it and posted it on the Internet.
“There is a statue of a comfort woman, a statue of a prostitute, right in front of the embassy,” said Suzuki in the video, claiming that it needs to be torn down.
The police could be seen interrupting in the video, but ultimately, Suzuki completed his task.
The stake was immediately taken down and the police are currently investigating the incident.
The police suspect the two men may be related to a similar incident where a stake was placed at the War and Women’s Human Rights Museum on Monday.
The museum, which exhibits the history of Korean women forced into Japanese brothels, opened last month.
“They brought three stakes, put one on the museum wall and the other on the monument,” said co-representative Yoon Meehyang of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. “It looks like they tried to deliver one to the Japanese Embassy and failed.” “They take pride in their action, but it confirms how ignorant they are ethically and historically,” she criticized.
This is not the first time the Japanese have denied forcing Korean women into sexual slavery.
Last month, American papers reported that delegations of Japanese officials requested that a comfort woman monument be removed from a public park in New Jersey, insisting the women were never forced into sexual servitude.