Back To Top

Seoul urged to press Japan on radiation

Legislators also rebuke government over Dokdo, translation of EU FTA

Lawmakers Thursday lashed out at the government over measures to handle the inflow of radioactive material from Japan, Tokyo’s approval of history textbooks claiming sovereignty over Dokdo and the mistranslation of the Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement.

“Our government needs to stand firm on this issue of radioactive waste disposal,” Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun of the ruling Grand National Party said during an interpellation session at the National Assembly.

“Being the closest country to Japan, Korea should have dispatched nuclear experts right away to investigate the leaks in Fukushima but our government stood by, passively receiving the Japanese government’s feedback.”

The lawmaker also added that potential nuclear-related dangers need to be studied more intensely.

Yoo Ki-june, another GNP lawmaker, urged the government to establish a three-party emergency task force with Japan and China.

Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and other Cabinet members attended the second day of the four-day interpellation session, which dealt with foreign affairs, unification and national security issues.

Over the Dokdo issue, lawmakers from the rival parties spoke in one voice, demanding that the rocky islets be turned into a residential area.
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik answers a question from a lawmaker at the National Assembly on Thursday. (Yonhap News)
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik answers a question from a lawmaker at the National Assembly on Thursday. (Yonhap News)

“The government should come up with a stronger set of actions to respond to Japan’s textbook distortion,” said Rep. Chung Ok-nim of the GNP.

Rep. Joo Seung-yong of the main opposition Democratic Party urged the government to break away from its “silent diplomacy,” which he referred to as “incompetent diplomacy.”

Amid the conflict over the islets, members of a special parliamentary committee on Dokdo plan to visit the islets later this month to hold a meeting, according to committee officials.

“The meeting will promote internationally Korean sovereignty over Dokdo,” said the committee chairman Rep. Kang Chang-il.

The ministers of foreign affairs, land and education are also expected to attend the meeting, he said.

The recent discovery of mistranslated passages in the Korea-EU FTA was another point of harsh criticism by legislators.

Rep. Chun Jung-bae of the DP called the mistranslated agreement a humiliating event in Korean diplomatic history and demanded the dismissal of top trade officials.

Prime Minister Kim responded that the chief trade negotiator should take responsibility for the repeated translation errors found in the Korean-language text of the EU free trade deal.

“Officials involved, including Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon, should take due responsibility for the errors,” Kim said.

By Bae Hyun-jung (