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Japan returns ambassador to S. Korea, calls island control 'illegal' (3)

(Xinhua)

14:25, August 23, 2012

Due to residual ill-feeling towards Japan from South Korea over its war-time militaristic and colonial rule of the peninsular, Emperor Akihito has not visited South Korea, despite being invited to do so by Lee in person during a visit here in April 2008.

Gemba said that Tokyo had lodged an official complaint with South Korea on Tuesday about Kim's emperor-related remarks, stating that the comments were both "unproductive and of no benefit to South Korea."

Highlighting the keyed up sentiments of both sides, Seoul will return a diplomatic letter sent from Tokyo to protest Lee's visit to the disputed islands and remarks made by Lee and Kim regarding Japan's emperor, South Korean officials said Wednesday.

Noda had originally said that he didn't understand why Lee made such remarks and described them as being "regrettable" and " disappointing."

The Japanese government is considering postponing an upcoming Japan-South Korea summit and intergovernmental consultations that are scheduled for the near future, in an official show of disapproval towards their South Korean counterparts, lawmakers here have said.

In addition, Finance Minister Jun Azumi also said that Japan may scale back its currency swap deal with South Korea from the current 70 billion U.S. dollar level.

Azumi will also be postponing this weekend's meeting with his counterpart in Seoul and Trade and Economy Minister Yukio Edano has decided not to hold bilateral talks with South Korean officials at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic ministerial meeting, which takes place later in August, officials said, in a sign the row will not rest in the near future.

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