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Old 07-15-2008, 08:16 PM
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Post Japan Claims Ownership of Islands Controlled by South Korea

TOKYO — Japan's government Tuesday defended its decision to include in school textbooks its claims to islands currently controlled by South Korea, a move that prompted Seoul to lodge a strong protest and recall its ambassador.

Japan reignited the controversy Monday by announcing its intention to recommend in a government-approved teaching manual that students learn about Tokyo's claims to the tiny islands in the Sea of Japan.

"It's been decided between myself, the chief Cabinet secretary and involved ministers that this is the best solution," Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said.

Japan claimed the islets in 1905, but then South Korea laid claim in 1952. Seoul effectively controls the rocky outcroppings — called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese — and has stationed police on them. The area surrounding the islands is believed to be rich in fish and may also hold undersea resources.

In response to Monday's announcement, South Korea said it would recall its ambassador to Tokyo, Kwon Chul-hyun, for an unspecified time and lodged a strong protest with Japan's Foreign Ministry.

Kwon told reporters after meeting with a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official in Tokyo that the dispute is "straining the relationship further between Japan and Korea." Kwon was expected to leave Japan later Tuesday.

"I am filled with sadness and anger as one person who valued Japan's friendship the most," he said. - Japan Claims Ownership of Islands Controlled by South Korea

And you were worried about Iran....
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