Me: Hi Japan.

Japan: Hi.

Me: I keep hearing something in the news about Takeshima. What is it?

Japan: It’s a couple of small islands north of me and east of Korea, right in the middle of the ocean.

Me: Is there anything there?

Japan: No, not really. They’re almost uninhabitable. They’re just two small barren rocks to be honest.

Me: But they’re disputed islands, right?

Japan: Erm…

Me: You and Korea both claim ownership.

Korea: Dokdo is Korean!

Japan: Takeshima is Japanese!

Me: Ah, Korea. Hi, how’s it going?

Korea: Not bad thanks. But Dokdo is Korean!

Me: OK, right. So the Korean name for Takeshima is Dokdo?

Korea: Yes. And those islands do have something on them.

Me: Really? What?

Korea: The Korean coast guard and a Korean flag. Because they’re Korean!

Japan: No. Takeshima is Japanese! And nobody lives there.

Me: Why do you both feel so strongly about this?

Korea: Japan stole them from me. The thief.

Japan: No. You’re trying to steal them from me. You thief.

Me: Hang on. You’ve obviously got some history between you and these two little rock island things seem tied up in that but if there’s nothing really there and they’re tiny rocks in the middle of nowhere, then why do you care if Korea claims them and sticks a flag on them?

Japan: Because if you claim the islands then you can claim the oceans around it. Think of all the fish and sea life that probably lives there and could maybe be harnessed for a potential small profit. Think of the possible existence of untapped mineral and oil wealth that may or may not perhaps exist. Isn’t that something worth internationally disputing indefinitely with vigour and aggression straining diplomatic, economic and cultural ties for?

Korea: Exactly.

Me: Hmm. Why can’t one of you just concede?

Japan: No.

Korea: No.

Me: Well, can one of you just buy them?

Japan: No.

Korea: No.

Me: Can we put them on ebay?

Japan: No.

Korea: No.

Me: How about rock, paper, scissors? You both love that.

Japan: No.

Me: It’ll be great. Your two respective leaders could get together for the inaugural Rock, Paper, Scissors Summit. Best of three. Winner takes the useless islands.

Japan: No.

Me: You could have a Ministry for Rock, a Ministry for Paper and a Ministry for Scissors. It could revolutionise diplomacy. UN sessions could be over in minutes. Think of all the time that it could save.

Japan: You’re an idiot.

Korea: I agree.

Me: See, it’s working already.

Japan: …

Me: OK, OK. So you’re both really against each other on this with no end in sight. It does seem a little ironic though, doesn’t it?

Japan: Ironic?

Me: Well, yeah, i mean, as the population of the world is increasing faster than our lifestyles are evolving putting pressure on existing resources, such as food from the oceans and minerals from the ground, two economically developed, technologically advanced countries are putting time, effort and energy into claiming these decreasing resources instead of working together to find solutions to food production and mineral extraction that could benefit the future generations of not only both of you but the global population at large.

Japan: …

Korea: …

Me: Don’t you both make flat screen TVs and bullet trains and mobile phones? Why don’t you put some endeavour into making highly reproductive fish and test tube produced biodegradable plastic or recyclable petroleum instead of protesting in the streets about two island rocks.

Japan: …

Korea: …

Japan: Takeshima is Japanese!

Korea: Dokdo is Korean!

Me: But it doesn’t make any-

Japan: You don’t understand the situation.

Korea: Yeah, you don’t understand the history.

Me: I don’t understand?

Japan: Right.

Korea: Exactly.

Me: I think we’ve found something we can all agree on.


September 24, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized.

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