South Korea on Friday criticized a move by Japan to include the government's territorial claims to two tiny South Korean-held islands in elementary school textbooks.

"Our government strongly criticizes the Japanese government's approval of elementary textbooks that stepped up the level of provocation over Dokdo," a statement by the South Korean Foreign Ministry said, referring to the disputed islands by their Korean name. The Japanese name is Takeshima.

"Japan should remember its future generation will be further isolated in the international community if education distorts and conceals the history of its past imperialistic aggression," the statement said.