Japan, South Korea clash over Dokdo ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Japan, South Korea clash over Dokdo ahead of Tokyo Olympics
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said South Korean complaints about a Japanese map are "unacceptable" during a regular press briefing Wednesday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

June 2 (UPI) -- Japan said South Korean territorial claims to the disputed Dokdo Islets are "unacceptable" after Seoul summoned a senior Japanese Embassy official to issue a complaint about a map on the Tokyo Olympic website.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Wednesday at a regular press briefing that Tokyo rebuffed the complaint after Hirohisa Soma, a senior official at the Japanese Embassy, was summoned by Seoul's foreign ministry, South Korean newspapers Segye Ilbo and Herald Business reported.


"Takeshima is an inherent territory of Japan, as evident from historical facts and according to international law," Kato said, referring to the disputed territory by its Japanese name.

Kato also said the complaint was "not acceptable at all."

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The Japanese government spokesman said the islets were "marked objectively" on the Olympic map and that the Japanese Olympic Committee has "explained its position."

Kato added the Olympic Charter forbids the use athletes for "inappropriate" political and commercial purposes.

Japan's map of Dokdo first came to the attention of South Korean politicians last month.

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Potential candidate for the presidency, former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, said on his Facebook page Thursday that if Japan refuses to remove Dokdo from its territorial map, Korean athletes should boycott the Tokyo Olympics.


Former Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, another potential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, said the Japanese decision to include Dokdo on an Olympic map was "offensive and disgraceful." Chung also expressed support for a boycott.

South Korea's ministry of culture, sports and tourism sent a letter last week to the Japanese Olympic Committee to request a correction to its map.

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Anger is rising in Korea over the territorial dispute.

On the streets of Seoul, university students gathered to burn a Japanese Rising Sun Flag, a symbol of the Japanese military, Yonhap reported Wednesday.

Students of the Korean Progressive University Student Union were protesting Japanese claims to Dokdo, according to the report.

Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

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