SEOUL: South Korea summoned Japan’s deputy ambassador on Tuesday to protest over a map on the Tokyo Olympics website that showed a set of South Korea-controlled islands as Japanese territory.
The small islands, called Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan, have been at the centre of a decades-long territorial dispute between the two countries.
A public uproar arose in South Korea after the islands were marked on a map of Japan on the Tokyo Olympics website showing the route of the torch relay. Tokyo has rejected Seoul’s request to change the map, prompting some South Korean politicians to call for a boycott of the Games.
South Korea’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Hirohisa Soma, deputy ambassador at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to demand correction of the map.
“We were planning to strongly protest Japan’s unjust territorial assertion over Dokdo and demand an immediate correction,” ministry spokesman Choi Young-sam told a briefing ahead of the summons.
Phone calls to the Japanese embassy for comment went unanswered.
The islands, also known as the Liancourt Rocks, are 225 km (140 miles) off the east coast of South Korea. While South Korea controls the islands, Japan also claims sovereignty over them.
Choi did not elaborate on the calls to boycott the Olympics, saying the government will closely watch the situation while contesting Japan’s territorial claims.
The two nations had a similar spat during the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, with Japan protesting the inclusion of the islands on a flag depicting a unified Korean peninsula used when athletes from South and North Korea marched together at the opening ceremony.
Relations between Seoul and Tokyo remain icy amid disputes over the islands and the issue of compensation for victims who were forced work in Japanese firms and military brothels during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule