Japanese lawmaker raises prospect of war to ‘reclaim’ islets controlled by South Korea
- Lower house legislator Hodaka Maruyama asked in a tweet on Saturday whether war wasn’t ‘the only way to get them back’
- He was previously expelled from a political party for broaching the subject of war in relation to another set of islands controlled by Russia
Maruyama, who belongs to NHK Kara Kokumin Wo Mamoru To (the party to protect the people from NHK [Japan’s national broadcasting organisation]), tweeted on Saturday, “Isn’t war the only way to get them back?” referencing the group of South Korea-controlled, Japan-claimed islands that were recently visited by a group of lawmakers.
The two countries have been at loggerheads over the islands, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, and the lawmakers’ visit came amid worsening bilateral ties over wartime history and trade policy.
“The government’s policy is to continue diplomatic efforts to resolve the [territorial] issue peacefully based on international law,” Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi, minister-in-charge of territorial issues, said at a press conference called to address the latest controversy.
Maruyama was expelled from the opposition Japan Innovation Party after he asked the leader of a group of former Japanese residents of one of the four Russia-held islands off Hokkaido, “Do you think there is any alternative to war [to regain control of the islands]?”
Maruyama apologised and retracted the remarks made while on a visit to the islands, but the Diet still passed a rare resolution to rebuke him.