Seoul files protest over Takeshima Day


A South Korean Foreign Ministry official has lodged a protest with Japan for letting a government representative attend the Takeshima Day ceremony Saturday in Shimane Prefecture.

Lee Sang-deuk, director general of the Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau, on Sunday summoned Hisashi Michigami, a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to file the protest. Takeshima is Japan’s name for the two tiny islets that South Korea controls in the Sea of Japan and calls Dokdo.

Lee said the islets are Korean territory and that it’s wrong for Japan to claim sovereignty over them.

Yoshitami Kameoka, a parliamentary secretary at the Cabinet Office, attended the annual ceremony in Matsue, the Shimane prefectural capital, which declared Takeshima Day under an ordinance in 2005.

The Cabinet ordered the islets incorporated with Shimane in 1905, just as Japan was preparing to annex the Korean Peninsula. They were seized by South Korea in the 1950s.

On Saturday, South Korea issued a statement criticizing the ceremony, which was sponsored mainly by Shimane.

In response, Michigami said Japan cannot accept South Korea’s protest. He explained the government’s position that Takeshima is Japanese territory.

Michigami also urged the South to accept Japan’s efforts to deal with history and boost its contributions to global peace and security.