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81-year-old widow only resident on remote island at heart of Japan, Korea dispute



An 81

-year-old ex-apneist is the only living resident on an island in the middle of the Sea of ​​Japan, now involved in one of the most heated disputes between Japan and Japan. South Korea in three centuries.

Kim Sin-yeol and her late husband Kim Sung-do took the unusual decision to move to the Dokdo Islands in 1991. Her husband's former fishing partner moved there in 1965 and he was the first official resident. Since then both men have died, leaving the widow Kim the only legal resident on the islet, where a bad weather can cut her from the outside world for weeks at a time.

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It seems that he prefers this way, spending his days swimming, fishing or training. His family says he has no intention of relocating.

"He said that living in Dokdo is relaxing," he told CNN this week his son-in-law, Kim Kyung-chul. "Being there, his mind is at ease."

Located almost equidistant between Japan and Korea, the Dokdo – or Takeshima islands, as they are known in Japan – are not larger than the Grand Central Terminal in New York. According to South Korea, Dokdo was recognized by Japan as a Korean territory in 1696 following a struggle between Japanese and Korean fishermen. In 1905, despite being under Korea, the islands were annexed by Japan until 1945. Korea claims that the islands were restored at the end of the Second World War. Japan is not in agreement

  Members of a nationalist group hold a "Rising Sun" flag during a demonstration in Tokyo on February 22, 2013 on the controversial islands of Takeshima / Dokdo

Members of a nationalist group hold a "Rising Sun" flag at an event in Tokyo on February 22, 2013 on the controversial Takeshima / Dokdo islands
(AFP)

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Tensions on the islands flared during the South Korean Winter Olympics, when a banner in the opening ceremony depicted them as part of the Korean Peninsula [19659007] The flag was modified after a Japanese protest, but the islands reappeared a few months later as part of a unified Korean flag drawn on a dessert served at an inter-Korean summit, CNN reports.

As the fight takes place on the world stage, the only legal resident of the island lives a quiet life. The island has room only for a residence – its – which is undergoing renovation.

  Dokdo. A beautiful island at the eastern end of Korea.

Dokdo. A beautiful island at the eastern end of Korea.

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Others have expressed an interest in living on the island but officials say they have no plans to accept new residents. Local media reported this week that Kim's daughter and son-in-law Kim Kyung-chul could move there in April and open a souvenir shop, but the Dokdo Management Office told The Korea Herald that there are too many residents.


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