The Foreign Ministry has asked foreign correspondents to cancel a planned visit to the South Korean-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan, saying it would unfairly strengthen Seoul’s claim and stir up national sentiment, according to club representatives.

Foreign Ministry officials recently told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan that a visit to the disputed territory known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea would be truly regrettable, they said.

The FCCJ is arranging the visit either for early July alongside a visit to the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea or separately in July or August.

According to the FCCJ, the Foreign Ministry was told the trip would not be canceled, though South Korea has yet to say whether it will allow the visit.

The ministry was told the media are naturally drawn to hot spots and the club does not accept that any location or topic should be off-limits.

By requesting that the FCCJ cancel the trip, the ministry may find that even more journalists are drawn to the issue, it was told.

But FCCJ representatives also said that if the trip takes place, the club would be more than willing to host a briefing by the Foreign Ministry on the territorial issue.

The Foreign Ministry had said that in view of the differing stances of the Japanese and South Korean governments on the issue, the FCCJ should not conduct activities in favor of one particular side.

But the ministry also told the club it was not attempting to manipulate the activities of Japan-based foreign correspondents.

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