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Japan, South Korea blame each other on WWII anniversary (2)


09:40, August 16, 2012

Lee's unprecedented remarks followed another first for the South Korean leader who visited a disputed group of islands, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, marking the first time a South Korean president has visited the islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

The ownership of the islands, which are controlled by Seoul but claimed by Tokyo, has been a point of contention between the two nations for decades and the territorial dispute has escalated of late.

Prior to the South Korean president's trip, Tokyo had urged Seoul to cancel the visit, warning its neighbor that any visit would seriously undermine bilateral ties.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a news conference that the trip would be completely unacceptable and fly in the face of Japan's position.

Noda told local reporters following Lee's visit and in a sign of protest to South Korea's actions that he had ordered the recall of Japan's ambassador to South Korea.

Gemba indicated to reporters that Japan may seek arbitration of the dispute in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Further adding to souring ties between Tokyo and Seoul, a team of swimmers completed on Wednesday morning a 220-kilometer relay, lasting almost 50-hours, with two South Korean students landing on the disputed islets, local media in South Korea reported.
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