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More Korean soap operas on Japan channels despite strained ties
SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- The number of Korean dramas being aired on Japanese TV channels has risen despite recent political tension between the two countries, a government report showed Monday.

   Relations chilled following an unprecedented visit to Dokdo on the East Sea by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in August. The visit highlighted Seoul's views that Japan remains unrepentant about its brutal 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Japan, which has claimed Dokdo as its territory, strongly protested Lee's visit.

   A total of 229 Korean TV drama series were being broadcast on 30 Japanese channels as of this month, including terrestrial and satellite, the Japanese branch of the Korea Creative Contents Agency (KOCCA) said in a report published on Friday.

   The figure of 229 represented a gain from 224 in July, a month before the political relations began to fray.

   However, the political tension has not yet been reflected in the cultural market because the series being broadcast were pre-purchased before relations soured, the office said.

   Five Korean soap dramas currently on service by major Japanese TV networks are "Secret Garden," "Dong Yi," both by NHK; "Can't Live with Losing" by TBS; "Giant" by TV Tokyo; and "Padam Padam" by TV Asahi.

   "We expected the number of Korean programs (on Japanese channels) to decline due to the worsening ties, but there was no remarkable change," the KOCCA said.

   KOCCA officials, meanwhile, said to keep the Asian-wide boom of Korean culture afloat, Korean drama makers must make efforts to control the quality of their products since Japanese TV stations have often complained about the quality of some poorly made Korean dramas.

   sshim@yna.co.kr
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