MATSUE, SHIMANE PREF. – A senior government official attended a ceremony Saturday commemorating the “incorporation” of two tiny islets at the center of a territorial dispute with South Korea.
Yoshitami Kameoka, parliamentary secretary with the Cabinet Office, represented the government at the Takeshima Day ceremony, which is named after the South Korean-controlled islets, called Takeshima by Tokyo and Dokdo by Seoul.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry had demanded that Kameoka not attend and that the ceremony, held by the Shimane Prefectural Government, be canceled.
The event was also attended by 16 Diet members including Hiroyuki Hosoda, executive acting secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Shu Watanabe, an acting secretary-general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.
Last year, the government was represented by Aiko Shimajiri, who held the same post as Kameoka, making her the first civil servant to join the event since it began in 2006. Japan claims Shimane has jurisdiction over the islets, which lie roughly halfway between the two countries.
The event marks a Cabinet decision in January 1905 to confirm sovereignty over the rocky outcroppings. Shimane gave notice of the incorporation Feb. 22 the same year and designated the date as Takeshima Day in 2005, 100 years after the Cabinet decision.