Over at On My Way to Korea, Matt Strum has provided everyone an update on his time meeting with the Dokdo Racers and the presentation they have been showing to audiences on their trip:
After all the introductions and background, they showed a video introducing the issue of Dokdo. After I saw that video on Wednesday, they actually edited it since it seemed a little too aggressive to Japan (I highly suggested that they change it). The first version introduced a extreme scenario where Japan claims that Megan Fox is Japanese and other things like that. I told them that it really seemed that people seeing this would not get it and that it would hurt the presentation. They came back with a new version on Thursday to show me with that section changed. I was really happy to see that they had made it much better. Instead of showing extreme examples of Japan claiming things as Japans, they made examples of Korea claiming things that weren’t theirs (using simple examples instead of people). To me, it just seemed a lot more classy to to that. Saying that Korea doesn’t claim things that aren’t theirs was way better than saying that Japan claims things that are completely and obviously not theirs. Although they had changed the video, they accidentally showed the original one during the presentation. They said that they were sorry for showing that version and showed the new version after the presentation was finished. [On MyWay to Korea]
Read the rest of Matt’s posting because he provides many more details about the Dokdo Racers trip . Matt also provides a schedule of where in the US and Canada the Dokdo Racers plan to give presentations. Over at the Dokdo Racers’ blog they also have a bunch of pictures posted from their presentation and it doesn’t appear they had too big of a crowd:
This is actually more people then I thought they would get to show up. Think about it, how many Koreans would show up for some group in Denmark bad mouthing Canadians due to the Hans Island dispute? I’m sure they would have had a much huger turn out if they brought knife in the gut man, flag eater man, finger chopping ajumma, the Dokdo Riders, the pheasant smashers, and my favorite of all bee man along with them.
Just like the Dokdo Riders before them, the Dokdo Racers to me seem to be using the Dokdo issue to secure funding for their trip. They got money from the Korean government and some business sponsors and what ever expenses were left over they had to pay out of pocket. Their presentation didn’t seem very impressive and I would be curious to see what maps they are presenting considering how many fraudulent maps are out there to include even in the Dokdo Museum.
I seriously doubt they presented a complete and balanced presentation of the Dokdo issue. The Japanese government knows that the Koreans are never going to give up Dokdo, but this dispute has nothing to do with controlling the islets. This issue has many more aspects to it with one being the Kuril Islands dispute. Japan still claims the Kuril Islands that Russia occupied after World War II. By giving up a claim to Dokdo it weakens Japan’s stance on regaining the Kuril Islands. Most Japanese could care less about Dokdo, but they do care about the Kuril Island issue and feel strongly about it.
What really brought this Dokdo dispute to prominence was the fishermen in Shimane Prefecture. South Korean fishermen have been poaching in Japanese waters for years and have gotten away with it to the extent that they even kidnapped two Japanese coastguard personnel that tried to apprehend them. That is why the government of Shimane Prefecture which is very dependent on its fishing industry have been driving the Dokdo issue in order to get it greater visibility within Japan. The South Korean overreactions have played right into the hands of the Shimane Prefecture folks because now the Dokdo issue has gotten greater awareness within the Japanese public and become a national issue that now right wing politicians are beginning to advance. What is even more pathetic about this issue is that the province in Japan driving this issue, Shimane Prefecture is the least cared about in all of Japan.
This whole stupid issue started over fish and has now turned into a nationalistic cause by politicians looking for political advantage that will make any negotiations to solve the original fishing problem next to impossible. However, the dispute is still a great excuse to score funding for an around the world trip, which if someone is paying them to do why not?