Japan raps S. Korea for islet claims, alarmed at China's criticism

Japan's Foreign Ministry in separate reports has criticized South Korea for selectively interpreting historical records to justify its territorial claim to a disputed group of islands in the Sea of Japan, while registering its concern about China's stepped-up criticism of Japan over a separate island dispute through its state media.

Together the reports, submitted late last month to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's special committee on territorial issues, strongly suggest the ministry's willingness to seek LDP support in pushing back on information campaigns.

In analyzing South Korea's recent criticism of Japan, one of the reports says Seoul has interpreted relevant documents and materials over the history of Takeshima, a group of islets controlled by South Korea but claimed by Japan, "in a way that is consistent with its claims to make it look as if the islands are its own territory."

Last week, Seoul lodged a protest with Tokyo over an English-language PR video concerning the islets, called Dokdo in Korean, after the YouTube link was posted on the ministry's website.

In analyzing China's criticism of Japan over the Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that China says Japan stole from it in the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese War, the second report says China Central Television, or CCTV, broadcasts such criticism in six languages, including English and French.

The report expresses concern that in its broadcast, CCTV has also described the entry of Chinese government ships into the waters claimed by Japan around the islands as a law-enforcement patrol, and that Chinese reporters aboard the vessels occasionally report such activities live.

It also argues that the Chinese government has sought to highlight its legitimate claims to the islands, called the Diaoyu in China, by quoting experts who purport to be a third party, providing Western media reports that are believed to have been affected by such propaganda as examples.

The report points out China's lobbying efforts toward U.S. Congress, citing information that money spent on such efforts is on the rise.

The ministry's report on South Korea's claims to Takeshima, meanwhile, cited a 2011 ruling by the Constitutional Court in South Korea as spurring Seoul to step up its criticism of Japan.

The court said it was unconstitutional for the South Korean government to make no specific efforts to resolve the dispute over compensation for South Koreans who served as comfort women.

"The (court) decision is incompatible with a bilateral agreement on the right to seek compensation, and with international standards," the ministry said in the report.

On South Korea's claim that it is reminiscent of Japan's past imperialism and colonialism to use the name "Sea of Japan," the report noted the argument is groundless and is not based on fact.

Disagreements over the sovereignty of the islets and perceptions of Japan's wartime aggression have kept Japan from holding summit talks with China and South Korea.