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Japan stages rally over disputed islands with South Korea

Published on Feb 22, 2013 2:40 PM
Protesters holding a Japanese national flag read a protest message during an anti-South Korea rally in front of the South Korean embassy in Tokyo on Feb 22, 2013 to mark Takeshima Day in Japan, a commemoration day set by Japan's local government for the disputed islands called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan held an annual rally on Friday over Tokyo's claim to a set of tiny islands controlled by South Korea, which has been at the centre of a long-standing territorial feud.

Some 500 people flocked to the event in Shimane prefecture in western Japan, including the highest-ranking Japanese government official ever to attend and local and national politicians.

Seoul reacted angrily to the rally and the expected presence of Mr Aiko Shimajiri, a parliamentary secretary in Tokyo's Cabinet Office, with foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young describing it as "greatly regrettable".

"Japan should not conduct such behaviours (if it hopes) to promote friendship between Seoul and Tokyo," he added before the ceremony began, warning of "appropriate measures".

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