The South Korean military is considering conducting defense drills this month on islands in the Sea of Japan that are at the center of the nation’s territorial dispute with Japan, South Korean media reported Sunday.

The islands, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, are under Seoul’s effective control.

The drills were initially planned to take place in June, but they were postponed to reflect Seoul’s desire to prevent the bilateral relationship from worsening, according to the Yonhap news agency.

But a military source said there is a consensus that the drills should not be delayed any longer as Japan continues to exacerbate the situation, it reported.

On Friday, Japan decided to remove South Korea from its list of trusted trading partners qualified for preferential treatment in export procedures. Earlier, in July, Tokyo tightened its export controls on semiconductor materials bound for South Korea.

Tensions between the two Asian neighbors have been high partly because of a series of South Korean court rulings last year ordering Japanese firms to pay compensation to South Koreans forced to work for them during World War II.

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