TOKYO — A lawmaker who sparked criticism earlier this year for his remarks suggesting the need for Japan to wage war with Russia has made a similarly controversial remark regarding islets controlled by Seoul and claimed by Tokyo.
Following reports that a group of lawmakers from South Korea had visited the disputed islands, known in Japan as Takeshima and in South Korea as Dokdo, Hodaka Maruyama wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday, “Isn’t war the only way to get them back?”
In response to a comment by Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the Democratic Party for the People, who called the visit to the islands a “thoughtless performance,” Maruyama also wrote “Isn’t (that comment) nothing but a performance?”
On a visit to one of four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido in May, Maruyama who had been drinking heavily had asked the leader of a group of former Japanese residents, “Do you think there is any alternative to war (to regain control of the islands)?”
He later retracted and apologized for his remarks, but the lower house of Japan’s parliament passed a rare resolution which said he was “not qualified to be a Diet member.”
Maruyama was expelled from the Japan Innovation Party in May and joined the NHK Kara Kokumin Wo Mamoru To (the party to protect the people from NHK) in July.