S. Korea to scrap waste dump sites in Japan-controlled waters
Tue, Feb 12, 2008

SEOUL - SOUTH Korea admitted on Tuesday it had accidentally designated Japanese-controlled waters as dumping grounds for its waste and promised corrective measures.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said it would amend regulations in June to remove two waste dump areas in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) which are in waters under Japanese jurisdiction.

'The government will exclude the two areas... as waste dump areas,' the ministry said in a statement.

It stressed, however, that no waste had actually been dumped there since at least 1998 when a bilateral fisheries agreement was signed.

'We've heard no waste has ever been dumped in the two areas as there is no reason for ships to sail all the way to get there as there are other waste dump areas closer to the coast,' a ministry official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Japan filed a protest to the maritime ministry in 2005 but no action was taken amid delays in talks on exclusive economic zones, he said.

The ministry also said that following requests from Tokyo, Seoul would readjust dumping areas in its own waters to prevent polluting Japanese waters.

'Given the continental shelf treaty, it is true that some part of the 1993-designated waste dump areas crossed the line into the Japanese side,' the ministry said in a statement.

Chosun Ilbo newspaper, in a comment headlined 'Our Oceans Are Not Giant Trash Cans', criticised Seoul's practice of dumping waste anywhere in the ocean.

Most of the waste dumped into the sea last year was sewage from livestock farms, leftover food and urban sewage, it said, adding this would pollute fish stocks. -- AFP

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