The government will set up a new website to promote its claims over disputed islands in nearby waters, a Cabinet minister announced Friday, risking a fresh backlash from China and South Korea.
Tokyo has already sent out such information through the existing website of the Foreign Ministry, stating its position on sovereignty over the Beijing-claimed but Japan-held Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan, which Seoul controls.
“As China and South Korea have actively transmitted information, we must also enhance our transmission to the world,” Ichita Yamamoto, state minister in charge of territorial issues, told reporters as he revealed the plan to launch the new official website, possibly within the year.
The website, to be launched by the Cabinet Secretariat, will explain Japan’s positions on the islet groups in English. It will also carry videos, said Yamamoto, who added the government will discuss effective ways to get Japan’s messages through at a new panel to be set up next week and joined by officials from the Foreign and Defense ministries and other offices.
The Senkakus, which lie west of Okinawa Island and are called Diaoyu by China, are administered by Japan. Tensions over the islets heightened after the government effectively nationalized them in September 2012.
The Takeshima islets are under the control of South Korea, where they are known as Dokdo. Tokyo protested to Seoul when former President Lee Myung-bak made an unprecedented visit to the islets in August last year.
The territorial rows have been at the center of recent bilateral frictions Tokyo has felt in its relationships with China and South Korea, both of which have urged lawmakers to face up to Japan’s wartime aggression in the region.