South Korea has strongly protested the Japanese government sending a senior official to a provincial event promoting territorial claim over the Korean Dokdo islets.
Japan's Shimane Prefecture held an event Thursday to mark the 13th Takeshima Day. Takeshima is the Japanese name for Dokdo.
Seoul's Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the same day and denounced Tokyo's repeated unjustified claims over Korea's easternmost islets, and urged that the provocative event be scrapped.
The statement called on Japan to immediately stop laying claim to Dokdo which inherently belongs to Korea historically, geographically and under international law.
The ministry is expected to summon Koichi Mizushima, minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to file a protest.
Earlier in the day, the Tokyo government sent Cabinet official Yuhei Yamashita as a government representative to the so-called Takeshima Day event, marking the sixth year in a row for a vice minister-level official to attend.
Japan has refused Seoul’s demand it close a newly opened exhibition hall in Tokyo which promotes its claim to Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo.
According to Japan’s Kyodo News, Tetsuma Esaki, Japans’ minister in charge of territorial issues, held a press conference on Friday to refute South Korea’s criticism over the facility, claiming Takeshima is Japanese territory historically and under international law. Takeshima is the Japanese name for the Korean islets in the East sea.
The exhibition hall showcases what Japan claims are historical documents showing that Japan has sovereignty over Dokdo as well as the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, over which it is engaged in territorial dispute with China.
Hours after the opening of the facility on Thursday, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement to call on Japan to immediately close it and realize that correct historical perspectives are the basis for the South Korea-Japan relationship.
The Japanese government on Thursday opened an exhibition hall in the heart of Tokyo intended to promote its territorial claim over Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.
Provincial authorities in Japan have opened Dokdo promotional centers in the past, but it's the first time for the Tokyo government to open such a space in the capital city.
During the opening ceremony of the so-called "territory and sovereign rights exhibition hall" situated inside Hibiya Park in Tokyo's Chiyoda district, Japanese Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Tetsuma Esaki claimed the facility will play a central role in advocating Japan's territorial sovereignty.
He expressed plans to hold special exhibits and increase the number of showcased materials.
On display at the 100-square-meter hall are materials that claim Dokdo and the Senkaku Islands belong to Japan. Senkaku in the East China Sea, known as Diaoyu in China, is disputed between the two countries.
The hall will be open free of charge from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.
The Japanese government is known to be opening a permanent exhibition space in the heart of Tokyo on Thursday to promote its territorial claim over the Korean Dokdo islets.
Japan's Sankei Shimbun daily reported Tuesday that the government plans to open the "territory and sovereign rights exhibition hall" inside the Shisei Kaikan building in Tokyo's Chiyoda district as part of efforts to provide more information related to Dokdo and the Senkaku Islands.
Sankei said it's the first time for the government to install a permanent exhibition facility related to territorial issues.
The Kyodo news agency had also reported in November that the Japanese government will create an exhibition hall in the building, which is inside Hibiya Park, to introduce related materials.
The Foreign Ministry has opened a new English link on its homepage dedicated to the Dokdo Islets in response to Japan's continued territorial claim to the area.
The link created Friday can be found in the Media Center section. It’s titled "Dokdo, the First Victim of Japan’s Aggression Against the Korean Peninsula."
In the document, the Seoul government made it clear that Japan seized power to control Korea in 1904 when it forced Korea to sign the Korea-Japan Treaty of 1904 and the Korea-Japan Protocol of August 1904.
It said that in the following year, the Shimane Prefectural Government alleged that it had incorporated Dokdo into its jurisdiction.
It continued to say that now with the Japanese government persistently making claims over Dokdo, Korea is worried that Japan could go down the same path of aggression once again.
The Foreign Ministry also posted to the page six dissertations that came from the website of the Northeast Asian History Foundation's Dokdo Research Institute.
Earlier on Friday, a Japanese official announced that an English portal about the islets has opened on the Cabinet Secretariat's homepage.
Japan’s ruling camp is seeking to set up facilities for its Self-defense Forces (SDF) and the Japan Coast Guard on the Oki Islands located near South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo.
Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun said Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) created a special bill that seeks to designate islands deeply related to national security and maritime order as specific remote islands. State agencies will be established on such islands located near Japan’s borders with South Korea and China.
The Yomiuri Shimbun said the LDP plans to designate around ten populated islands as such. The daily said other than the Oki Islands, the LDP is likely to designate Tsushima Island where South Korean businesses own some real estate.
The report added that the LDP also plans to include Yonaguni Island in the list. The island is located 150 kilometers from the Senkaku Islands, which have been a source of conflict between Japan and China.
A bill requiring all textbooks for public schools in Virginia to label the waters between Korea and Japan as both “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan” was put into effect on Tuesday.
By law, the U.S. state of Virginia and the education departments in all of Virginia’s counties can only select textbooks that have both labels.
As Virginia selects new textbooks every seven years, the state government will deliberate in 2016 for books to be used from 2017.
The Voice of Korean Americans, a Korean-American association that pushed for the passage of the bill, said the date for the use of both labels is likely to come sooner than 2017. It noted that most textbook publishing companies have already started printing both labels.
The new law is expected to affect all of the United States as the same social studies textbooks are generally found throughout the country and large publishing firms do not print textbooks only for certain regions.
A U.S. geography expert says the usage of the “East Sea” label for the sea between Japan and the Korean peninsula should be approached with the aim of achieving social justice.
Western Michigan University Professor Joseph Stoltman made the remark during a seminar held at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies on Thursday. Stoltman said the usage of the “East Sea” label must be explained in connection with Japan’s occupation of Korea.
Stoltman said a growing number of American teachers will come to ask publishing companies why the waters between Korea and Japan are not jointly labeled as the East Sea and Sea of Japan. Such questions, he said, will contribute to efforts to legalize the usage of joint labels.
Kyung Hee University Geography Professor Choo Sung-jae, who also attended the seminar, said some experts have suggested that new names be made for waters where countries are at odds over labels or to divide the waters and have the countries call the names they want. However, Choo said usage of joint labels is the most feasible alternative.
South Korea has strongly protested against a Japanese rally attended by high-level government officials that renewed Japan's territorial claim on Korea's Dokdo islets.
The foreign ministry said Thursday that Japan's nationalistic politicians again held a public rally, following a similar one in 2012, and are continuing to make groundless claims about Korean territory. The ministry said Japan must immediately stop making such absurd claims.
In its spokesperson's statement, the ministry said Dokdo is the first victim of Japanese imperialism which pillaged the Korean peninsula. The statement continued, saying that although Japan speaks of apologizing for its past aggression and contributing to international peace, no one in the international community would believe in its sincerity if it continues provocations against Dokdo.
The foreign ministry plans to summon Hisashi Michigami, a senior minister of the Japanese mission in Korea, Thursday afternoon to convey Seoul's position.
The rally was held in Tokyo Thursday morning, and those in attendance demanded a swift resolution of "the issue of Takeshima." Takeshima is what the islets are called in Japanese.
Masazumi Gotoda, the senior vice minister of Japan's Cabinet Office, attended the rally.
The Foreign Ministry has set up a mobile version of its Web site for the nation's easternmost islets of Dokdo.
A government official said Wednesday that the mobile site was established as the readability on mobile phones was found to be poor for the existing Dokdo Web site.
The mobile site states the South Korean government’s basic position that Dokdo is South Korea’s territory based on history, geography and international laws.
The site can be accessed in English, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish and also features a promotional video of Dokdo in the four languages.
The Foreign Ministry soon plans to provide French and Arabic services to the site.