Island tensions between Japan and South Korea

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Japan sent a message of “resolute diplomacy” at a ceremony organized to reinforce its arguments that the disputed Dokdo/Takshima islands are “its territory”. South Korea protested by summoning Japan’s Deputy Ambassador to Seoul to the Foreign Ministry.

The ceremony, held annually on February 22 in Matsue, the capital of the western coastal province of Shimane, was attended this year by Cabinet Office Member and Deputy Parliamentary Minister Nakano Hideyuki on behalf of the government.

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“South Korea’s forcible occupation of Takeshima is baseless and illegal,” Nakano said at the ceremony, adding that they will “continue resolute and peaceful diplomatic efforts” to resolve the issue.

Shimane Prefecture Governor Maruyama Tatsuya also described the visit of South Korean officials to the islands as “very unfortunate” and said Tokyo-Seoul negotiations were necessary to resolve the issue.

“Whether you look at historical facts or international law, Takeshima is clearly Japan’s internal territory,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu said at a press conference in the capital.

South Korea’s reaction: We protest strongly

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned Japan’s Deputy Ambassador to Seoul Kumagai Naoki to the ministry and conveyed its protests against the ceremony in question.

“We strongly protest Japan’s repetition of its unjust territorial claims,” the ministry said in a statement.

The total area of the islets is 0.2 square kilometers

The ceremony has been held every year since 2006 in the province after the Shimane Prefecture on the coast of the Sea of Japan (the Sea of Truth) declared “February 22 Takeshima Day”.

The islets with a total area of 0.2 square kilometers, which South Korea calls “Dokdo” and Japan calls “Takeshima”, are the subject of sovereignty disputes between the two countries.



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