While I was flipping through the 'all Dokdo, all the time' coverage of the latest brouhaha over the islands, I came across a piece in the Yomiuri Shimbun.
It is pretty standard stuff. But one part jumped out at me:
According to the two countries' agreement concerning fisheries that went into effect in 1999, neither country is to establish an exclusive economic zone around the island, and they are to jointly administer the area surrounding the island by designating it as a provisional area.
But Japanese fishing vessels have been all but excluded from the area, leading frustrated fishermen in the prefecture to back the ordinance.
There is a reason that this was passed at Shimane Prefecture's legislature and not in the Diet. The Japanese national government, while not giving up its claim to Takeshima (the Japanese name for Dokdo), doesn't want to upset relations with South Korea. On the other hand, the exclusion of Japanese fishermen from the waters off Dokdo has cost the people of Shimane Prefecture money and few things will motivate people to action faster than hitting them in their wallets.
Naturally Japundit has the goods on this:
I’ve seen two specific complaints by the Shimane fisherman. The first is that the South Korean Coast Guard prevents them from fishing. The second is that the agreement calls for the South Koreans to stop using fishing nets anchored in the seabed and use trawling nets instead. Use of the anchored nets effectively prevents Japanese fishermen from operating. The nets also catch a lot more fish, and the Japanese are concerned that the South Koreans are depleting nearby fish stocks. (The International Whaling Federation will be surprised to hear about Japanese interest in maritime conservation.) Another aspect of the agreement is that the Koreans are supposed to use ships with a smaller capacity to store fish; a compromise was specifically worked out on the tonnage. The South Koreans do not seem to upholding that part of the agreement, either.
Folks, I think we have the makings of a face-saving compromise here. If Korea would just live up to its part of the fisheries agreement, the Japanese government should be able to get the Shimane Prefecture to drop Takeshima Day. Off course, it would take a lot of work behind closed doors (and away from TV cameras) but I don't see why this can not be worked out.