• Kyodo

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The government plans to send a senior official to a ceremony this month commemorating the designation of two islets controlled by South Korea as Japanese territory.

Yohei Matsumoto, a Cabinet Office parliamentary secretary, will take part in Takeshima Day on Feb. 22 in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, an official said Monday. It will be the third consecutive year that a parliamentary secretary from the Cabinet Office has attended the annual event.

Japan declared the rocky outcroppings its territory in 1905 and included them within the administrative responsibilities of Shimane Prefecture. The annual event aims to underscore that claim, but it regularly draws protests from South Korea, which administers the islets and calls them Dokdo.

The government does not plan to send Eriko Yamatani, state minister in charge of territorial affairs, nor senior vice ministers, to the ceremony in consideration of the expected backlash from Seoul, the official said.

The Shimane Prefectural Government has convened a ceremony every year since 2006 after it designated Feb. 22 as Takeshima Day in 2005, the centenary of the declaration.

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