Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Japanese state marks claim to disputed islands

Japanese state marks claim to disputed islands

Local officials and citizens marked Japan's claim to a disputed cluster of South Korea-held islets and called for Tokyo to negotiate "tenaciously" with Seoul over the issue, police and news reports said yesterday.
Japan's Western Shimane prefecture (state) believes the islets - called Takeshima in Japanese and Dokdo in Korean - are part of its territory.
Local officials held the state's second "Takeshima Day" on Saturday, police official Hideo Matsuoka said. The day marks Japan's claim over the islets - about 145 kilometers northwest off Shimane's coast.
Shimane Governor Nobuyoshi Sumita said in an opening speech that the preceding year had seen much progress in expanding awareness about the issue, the Mainichi newspaper and Kyodo News agency said.
"We strongly hope for tenacious negotiations between the two governments," Sumita added, according to Kyodo.
The commemorations, however, risked straining relations between the two countries that have been warming in recent months.
South Koreans protest
A small group of South Koreans protested outside the hall where the ceremony was being held, but there were no major problems or incidents, Matsuoka said. He declined to estimate the group's size, but said about 250 police were on hand.
About 450 people attended the event, including a former chief Cabinet secretary and three local parliamentarians, the reports said. No central government ministers were reported to have attended.
Phones rang unanswered at Shimane prefectural offices yesterday.
The state's approval in March 2005 of a measure making February 22 "Takeshima Day" has no legal bearing on control of the islands, but prompted demonstrators in Seoul to burn Japanese flags and cut their own fingers off in protest.
The event was moved to a Saturday this year to encourage more people to attend, the Mainichi said.


Updated : 2021-10-20 06:40 GMT+08:00