Oops! Japanese Minister Doesn’t Know Name of Kuril Island Tokyo Wants
Sputnik/ Alexander LiskinAsia & Pacific16:27 28.02.2018Get short URL
Japan’s newly appointed Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Teru Fukui could take a lesson or two learning the names of Russia’s South Kuril Islands that Tokyo has been claiming since the end of WWII.
During his first news conference in his new capacity, Teru Fukui mispronounced the name of Shikotan Island, calling it “Shyakotan,” drawing laughs and chuckles from the attending newsmen, Kyodo reported.
On Wednesday the parliamentary opposition questioned the professionalism of the new cabinet minister, forcing Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga to explain that Fukui, a former senior vice education minister and an expert on southern Okinawa, was still learning the ins and outs of his new job.
Teru Fukui apologized for the blooper when attending the parliament’s budget committee debates later in the day.
Fukui’s predecessor, Tetsuma Esaki, who resigned on Tuesday, earlier admitted to reports that he didn’t know much about the details of Japan’s territorial claims on Russia – something he too had to apologize for in public.
The Kuril Islands are the subject of a long-standing territorial dispute between Russia and Japan.
Japan lays claims on the Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan islands and the Habomai group of islets. The territorial dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty after World War Two.
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