Channel NewsAsia

Koreans protest Japanese move on disputed islets

The announcement by Japan's education ministry stating that its teaching materials for middle and high school students would claim disputed islets, called Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima in Japan, as part of Japanese territory angered the Koreans.

SEOUL: Dozens of people from various groups rallied outside the Japanese embassy in central Seoul on Wednesday, demanding Japan face up to the truth about its past.

Many Koreans are still bitter about Japan's harsh colonial rule of Korea for 35 years from 1910.

And the announcement by Japan's education ministry stating that its teaching materials for middle and high school students would claim disputed islets, called Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima in Japan, as part of Japanese territory angered the Koreans further.

The South Korean government has condemned Japan's move and demanded the Japanese ministry withdraw the revised teachers' manuals.

Seoul also called in the Japanese ambassador and warned of "reciprocal countermeasures" if the changes are not withdrawn immediately.

But South Korea has not stated what the countermeasures would be.

Relations between the two countries have been at one of their worst levels in recent years.

The leaders of South Korea and Japan have not yet met, although both of them have been in office for about a year, mainly due to Japan's stance on its historical recognition issues.

But some of South Korea's actions have also raised diplomatic tensions in the past.

In one instance, in 2012, former president Lee Myung-bak became the first head of state to fly to the Dokdo islands, angering Japan.

The islands are small but they lie in fishing grounds believed to contain large gas deposits.

A Korean couple live on the island where South Korea has stationed a small coastguard since 1954.

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