Cabinet will skip ‘Takeshima Day’

Kyodo

No Cabinet minister is expected to attend a ceremony in Shimane in February to commemorate the day the Takeshima Islands, now held by South Korea, were incorporated as part of Japan in 1905 in the prelude to Japan’s takeover of the Korean Peninsula, Senior Vice Foreign Minister Masaji Matsuyama said.

Shimane Prefecture, which the central government claims has jurisdiction over the islands South Korea calls Dokdo, issued invitations to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and five other ministers Thursday to attend the ceremony in Matsue on Feb. 22.

This is the first time the prefectural government has invited a prime minister to “Takeshima Day” since it established the event in 2005. No Cabinet member has ever attended the ceremony, according to the Shimane Prefectural Government.

“We, the government side, have no plans so far to attend,” Matsuyama reiterated Thursday.

The event marks the incorporation of the rocky Sea of Japan islets into Shimane Prefecture on Feb. 22, 1905.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party vowed during the December election to have the central government host the event but has since delayed the plan to avoid further offending South Korea.