Saturday, May 02, 2015, 08:42:23

Tsushima, invasion of Korean garbage.

 
 
 
Tsushima is a Japanese island group consisting of two primary islands with a combined area of 276 square miles, 90% of which is forest and 3% of which is arable land. Tsushima has a population of roughly 38,000 people (and an estimated 40,000 deer and 20,000 wild boar). The islands lie 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Korean coastline, which is visible from a mountaintop observation deck on clear days. They are administered as a city within Nagasaki Prefecture.
We inserted "Japanese island", just to straighten out those handful of infantile kindergarden-IQ individuals that lately has included Tsushima in the Japanese-Korean territorial dispute sarushibai.
I rented a car in Izuharamachi, arriving with the Venus-jetfoil from Fukuoka, just a two hour trip.
I visited Tsusuzaki, Ayumodoshi, Akashima, Banshoin, Komodahama, Okishima, Mt Eboshi viewpoint, Oura kaigan, explored the fantastic Aso bay and finally Tonozaki, one of the most important memorial spots in japanese history, overlooking the wet grave of the Imperial Russian Baltic fleet of 1905. I went to Tsushima to take photos, but as impressed as I was with the natural beauty of the islands, I was just as shocked by the incredible amount of ocean garbage covering kilometer after kilometer of the coast, bays,inlets making it virtually impossible to take a coastal photo without the line of garbage in your camera lens .
We looked into the matter since neither Oxfam, Greenpeace, UN or French activist, Jean-Paul Fortom-Gouin seems to have taken notice of this catastrophe.
 
Trash from the Korean Peninsula started to become a serious problem in 2004. According to the Tsushima municipal government, about 250 tons of cans, bottles, containers, plastic bags and other kinds of waste—including disposable hypodermic syringes with intact needles—washed up on the shoreline that year, most of it coming from South Korea. (Some also came from China and Russia.) The trash tonnage rose to 650 in 2005 and climbed to 4,000 last year.

According to the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, 85% of the refuse that washes ashore on the Japanese coasts comes from South Korea. (It’s easy to identify the origin of containers or packaging for commercial products.) The Japanese government disposes of 100,000 tons of seaside trash annually.

The sheer mass of garbage has overwhelmed Tsushima’s ability to deal with it all. Some of it has to be shipped to Fukuoka for disposal, saddling the municipal government with a 5-million-yen bill (about $US 50,000) every year. Islanders have formed an NPO consisting of about 80 volunteer sanitary engineers, but they have trouble storing all the debris until it can be disposed. (The trash they collect is bagged and fills up a parking lot at a business site owned by one of the members.)

Tsushima officials asked Seoul to help clean up some of their mess. The Korean response has been largely a volunteer effort. About 300 university students come from Seoul for a weekend every year to pick up after their countrymen. One report says they managed to gather an estimated 200-300 tons in a weekend, but that would mean each student stooped over and picked up a ton of trash by themselves in a two-day period. Some Korean women’s groups have also volunteered to help.

While the islanders are resigned to the inevitability of becoming the dumpster for a certain amount of flotsam and jetsam because of their geographical location, having to spend so much time and money to rid their own back yard of rubbish that should have been handled in South Korea is unlikely to inculcate feelings of international friendship.

Look at:

garbage on tsushima beaches

garbage on tsushima beaches

There is unfortunately another major destructive invasion of Tsushima, its society and nature.
 
Mass cheep tourism mainly from Pusan area and South Korea.
There has been a 400% increase in tourism to Tsushima in the past five years, and South Koreans account for 99% of all foreign tourists to the islands. Most of the tourists are families and fishermen (or both), and they usually arrive on the Sea Flower 2, a ship operated by Daea Express Shipping out of Pusan. The Sea Flower 2 makes the 2 hour and 10 minute trip 10 times a month.

Here are the annual statistics for the number of Korean tourists coming to Tsushima through its two seaports starting in 2003. The figures in parentheses represent the percentage of tourists accounted for by South Koreans among all foreign tourists to the islands.

2003: 15,725 (97.9%)
2004: 21,055 (99.3%)
2005: 36,768 (99.5%)
2006: 42,467 (99.4%) That year the number of South Korean tourists surpassed the island’s population.
2007: 65,750 (99.5%)

 

In 2009 Korean tourists was twice that of the Tsushima population and the  forecast for 2015 is over 120,000 visitors or tree times the local population.
Needless to say these are not the "high-rolling " Korean tourists visiting Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Paris let alone Switzerland and the Korean investors that buy property and hotels in Tsushima are those that can not afford to buy in Pusan or Jeju Island.
(According to sources on Tsushima, large Korean real estate purchases began about 20 years ago by people affiliated with christian religious institutions.)
All one have to do to understand  the graveness of the situation is staying a night in one of the "hotels" with one collective shower and toilet in the hallway to each floor.
With the exemption of Tsushima Grand Hotel (the only civilized hotel on Tsushima) these "hotels" are packed with very noisy korean visitors, and according to several of the Japanese Yakitoria operators, these tourist groups expect " tabehodal" dinners for 1200.-Yen (drinking their own pocket-boose). Theft in the shops and shopping centers is common and the littering on the mountain-bike trails is astonishing, disgusting and overwhelming.
We think that a total restructuring of Tsushima-tourism by Nagasaki prefecture together with The Mayor of the city is very urgent before this wonderful island drown in all kinds of garbage .
 
1. A clean up and environment protection tax of 5000.- Yen for each visitor should be introduced immediately, to be collected at the point of landing on Tsushima.
This tax should apply to all tourists of any nationality and only Japanese middle   school and high school students should be exempt .
 
2. The Japanese education ministry should make student visit to the Tonosaki Memorial an obligatory part of history education just like Kyoto visiting.
 
3. Just like in Switzerland all hotels and overnighting facilities should pay 500.-Yen after each overnight tourist stay, payable  to Tsushima-Nagasaki tourism.
 
4. Various fines should be introduced for various offenses , such as littering , mountain polluting, etc. etc. as well as some form of Q.C. and curtailing of the visual pollution in all the shops and supermarkets selling cheep,  5-ryu plastic-shoes, tastless underweare and clothing, imported from who knows where must be introduced and the display of this form of garbage strongly limited. If korean tourists want to by that kind of trash, they should visit China.
 
I hope these measures will begin soon so I can visit Tsushima again.
If not…….. only cheep, polluting Korean tourists will keep coming which is not tourism but
illegal garbage dumping.
 
Until then "fundoshi shimette" when visiting Tsushima.
 
 
By
 
Gabor Fabricius
 
 

 

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