Japanese prefecture passes law on South Korea-held islets
Japan's Shimane Prefecture passed a law to underline claims for sovereignty over two islands controlled by South Korea. The South Korean National Security Council will discuss what action to take tomorrow.
The legislation designating Feb. 22 as "Takeshima Day" was passed to mark the 100th anniversary of Shimane's declaration the islands, two rocky outcrops in the Sea of Japan, are part of the prefecture, Yasuo Kanda, an official in the regional government contacted today by telephone, said.
"Our people are deeply concerned and angry," Ban said, referring to the island dispute and moves in Japan to publish textbooks that the South Korean government says glorify Japan's colonial rule of the country.
Takeshima, known as Tokto in South Korea, consists of two islets totaling 0.23 square kilometers (0.14 square miles), Kyodo News said earlier.
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Lee Tae Sik said on Monday the country may recall its ambassador to Japan, Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported.
Japan's central government tried to get the Shimane Prefecture to give up plans to pass the legislation. Both sides say they are keen to avoid the dispute hurting wider relations between the countries.
"I don't think we need to unnecessarily worsen relations between Korea and Japan," Ban said.
The following is the text of the ordinance translated by Kyodo News:
Article 1. Takeshima Day shall be instituted in order to promote a movement by the citizens of the prefecture, its cities, towns and villages united as one aimed at establishment of territorial rights on Takeshima at an early date and at enlightening the opinions of the nation with respect to the issue of Takeshima.
Article 2. Takeshima Day shall be Feb. 22.
Article 3. The prefecture shall strive to implement measures and policies necessary to promote undertakings befitting the purposes and objectives of Takeshima Day.