Shimane Prefecture was host to the annual event promoting the claim of Japan to the Takeshima islets (known as Dokdo in South Korea) today. About 500 people joined the festivities, which included Aiko Shimajiri, a parliamentary secretary in Tokyo’s Cabinet Office. There were police officers stationed all around the Shimane Prefectural Assembly Hall, where the rally was specifically held, to ensure peace and order, with protesters from both Japan and South Korea expected to stage separate demonstrations outside. Speaking about the celebration, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stressed in a press conference that Takeshima is an important part of the country.
Unsurprisingly, the South Korean government slammed the holding of this yearly event. In a statement, foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young urged Japan to “abolish ordinances about the designation of the Dokdo day and to immediately stop unjustifiable territorial claims to Dokdo.” It also criticized the Japanese government for sending Shimajiri to the affair. Cho said that they deeply regretted such move of the government.
In 2006, the Shimane Prefecture in western Japan, claiming administrative sovereignty over the islets, assigned February 22 as a day to promote Takeshima. It has since conducted a wide array of programs to strengthen its claims during said day. South Korea’s foreign ministry said that it will summon officials of the Japanese Embassy to protest against the incident.[via Channel News Asia]