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A Japanese restaurant serving seafood curry has added to existing bilateral friction between Japan and Korea.
The curry was served with two mounds of rice shaped like the disputed islands of Takeshima, or Dokdo, as the Koreans called it, the Guardian reported.
Served with pickles and soup, a Japanese flag was also planted on the rice, symbolizing the country’s claim to the islets.
Okinoshima Island, where the restaurant is located, is the closest Japanese island to the disputed islets.
A “cheap trick” to promote Japan’s claim
Unsurprisingly, the dish was not well received by Koreans.
According to Asahi Shimbun, a professor from South Korea, speaking to the country’s newspaper, Dong-A-Ilbo, described the move as a “typical cheap trick” to promote Japan’s claim to the islets.
North Korea has also criticized the move, with its state-controlled news site Uriminzokkiri describing it as “entrenched ambition to seize the territory and exercise militarism “.
Islands claimed by Japan and South Korea
South Korea, North Korea and Japan all claim sovereignty over the islands and the surrounding exclusive economic zone.
Currently administered by Seoul, South Korea’s claim to the islands was documented as early as 512 AD, at least 200 years before the islands were mentioned in Japanese documents.
The first Korean territory to be taken by Imperial Japan in 1905, South Koreans attach a great deal of historical sentiment to the islets, and Japan’s claim to the islands has continued to stoke anti-Japanese sentiments among them.
Japan claims the islands as part of the territory it incorporated before its imperial conquest in World War II, and used the principle of zero land (nobody’s land under international law) to justify their claim.
He considers the islands to be part of his Shimane prefecture.
Territorial dispute further worsened Japan-Korea relations
The curry incident is the latest incident to sour relations between Japan and Korea.
During the torch relay for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, South Korean officials protested Japan’s inclusion of the islets in their map on the Games Organizing Committee website, JoongAng Daily reported.
Prior to that, in 2017, Japanese officials raised objections when shrimp caught in Dokdo waters were served at a state banquet during former US President Donald Trump’s visit to South Korea. Korean herald reported.
The territorial dispute was not the only contentious issue – the issue of comfort women has long been a sticking point in bilateral relations.
According to Associated Press (AP), the Seoul Central District Court ruled on January 8 that the Japanese government should compensate 100 million won (S $ 123,600) to each of the 12 women who had already filed a complaint in 2013 for their suffering as a as “comfort women” during the war period.
The term “comfort women” was a euphemism used to refer to Korean women who were sent to the front lines of Japanese army brothels across Asia and lived in conditions of sexual slavery.
In response, Japan urged South Korea to drop wartime reparations demands, along with its foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi accuses South Korea of ââworsening strained relations between the two countries.
Top image via Zak Zak
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