From: Associated Press
Published May 19, 2005 12:00 AM

Japan, South Korea Discuss Fisheries, Territorial Waters

TOKYO — Senior officials from Japan and South Korea began three days of talks Wednesday on how to manage fishing resources in their waters, including those near disputed islets claimed by both countries, officials said.


Officials at the meeting in the fishing town of Yaizu in central Japan, are expected to discuss ways to recover decreasing fish stocks and seek ways to allow amicable fishing operations around the uninhabited islets in the Sea of Japan -- known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.


Fishermen from both countries are allowed to operate near the islets under an established fisheries agreement. But South Korea, which controls the islets, has stationed a small detachment of police there, making the waters virtually inaccessible for the Japanese, Tokyo says.


Japanese Fisheries Agency official Yoichi Wakame said details from the closed-door meeting, attended by Japanese fisheries resources management director Hiroyuki Takeya and his South Korean counterpart Shim Ho-jin and other officials, would not be released until the talks end Friday.


Surrounded by rich fishing grounds, the islets have been claimed by both Japan and Koreas since the Korean Peninsula was liberated from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.


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The islands are located midway from Japan and South Korea. A Japanese provincial legislature passed a law in March designating a "Takeshima Day" to reinforce Tokyo's claim to the islands, triggering angry protests in South Korea.


Yaizu is about 150 kilometers (100 miles) west of Tokyo.


Source: Associated Press


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