JAPAN: Suit filed against Yomiuri over misreport on Dokdo

South Korean citizens sue newspaper for writing that South Korea's President Lee conceded to former Prime Minister Fukuda that Dokdo island was Japanese territory

The Korea Times
Thursday, August 13, 2009

By Park Si-soo

A group of Korean citizens has filed a suit against a major Japanese newspaper for what they claimed to be a misreport on South Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo Island in the East Sea.

A total of 1,886 people Thursday filed a suit against the Yomiuri Shimbun, a mass-circulated Japanese daily, for a report in July last year stating that President Lee Myung-bak did not strongly oppose Dokdo being called Takeshima during a summit with his Japanese counterpart.

In the suit, they asked the daily to pay 4.11 million won in compensation and print a correction.

On July 15 last year, Yomiuri reported that then-Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda informed Lee of Tokyo's decision to refer to Dokdo as Japanese territory in new manuals for middle school teachers in Japan. In response, the report alleged, Lee did not protest the decision itself but instead told Fukuda that "the timing was not right" and asked him to "wait" before announcing the change.

"The report was to provoke the Korean people and eventually lead to the island being recognized by the international community as a potential seed of conflict between the two countries," a statement released by the group said. "Unless the malicious report is corrected, it will, in the long run, become evidence for the Japanese government to claim sovereignty over Korean territory."

Immediately following the report in July, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Lee Dong-kwan denounced it, calling the story completely inaccurate. Lee charged that the report might have been part of a manipulative effort by the Japanese media to cause a rift among Korean political leaders.