Monday, March 2, 2015

Japanese conservatives say name of new S. Korean submarine is "provocative"

By Julian Ryall in Tokyo
South China Morning Post
03 March 2015

South Korea has named its newest submarine after Yu Gwan-sun.Conservatives in Japan have dismissed the naming of a new South Korean submarine after a student activist who died after an uprising in 1919 against Tokyo's colonial regime as "just the latest little provocation."
Yu Gwan-sunThe South Korean navy announced on Sunday that it would name its sixth Type-214 attack submarine Yu Gwan-sun, in honour of the female student who was instrumental in the Korean independence movement, which is marked each year on March 1.
Sentenced to seven years in prison for her part in the uprising, Yu died in prison after apparently being tortured.
The vessel is presently under construction and is scheduled to be delivered in November 2016, navy officials told Yonhap News, and is the first in the history of the service to be named after a woman.
The navy's announcement coincided with President Park Guen-hye using the anniversary to again call on Japan to apologise to the women forced into sexual slavery for its military in the early decades of the last century and for Tokyo to halt efforts to whitewash its history.
"Like Germany and France, who were able to overcome animosity in the past to take the lead in building a new Europe, we hope that Japan can sincerely recognise historical truths and hold hands with Korea," Park said.
"Korea has taken many calculated steps recently, and this is just the latest little provocation," said Yoichi Shimada, a professor of international relations at Fukui Prefectural University.
"And I believe it is ironic that the South Korean navy has to name this submarine after a teenage girl because that just goes to show how shallow the independence movement was," he said. "The vast majority of Korean adults were cooperating with the Japanese during the occupation era because they were not unhappy."
Professor Shimada similarly played down the likelihood of President Park's demands being met.
"It is absolutely impossible for Japan to apologise for the military abducting young girls to serve as 'comfort women' because it never happened, " he added.

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