An annual rally was held on Sunday marking Japan's claim to a set of tiny islands controlled by South Korea, further fueling a long-standing territorial row between the neighbors.
Some 500 people gathered at the event in Shimane Prefecture in western Japan, including Yohei Matsumoto, a Cabinet Office parliamentary secretary, local and national politicians, organizers said.
Tokyo refers to the islands in the Sea of Japan (known as East Sea in South Korea) as Takeshima, while they are known as Dokdo in South Korea. The Shimane prefectural government claims that the islands are under its jurisdiction.
The local government designated Feb 22 as "Takeshima Day" in 2005 to mark the 1905 incorporation of the islands, and has since organized an annual ceremony to commemorate the day.
Some 100 South Koreans, who have moved their home addresses to Dokdo, urged Japan to scrap "Takeshima Day" and stop attempts to encroach upon South Korea's territory.
Relations between the two countries have regularly been strained by the territorial dispute and other issues arising from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean peninsula.
Tensions were further strained in 2012 following a surprise visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak to the island chain.
Tokyo is embroiled in separate territorial spats with China and Russia.© Japan Today/AFP