A Japanese defense report released today reiterates the country's claims to a small chain of islands that South Korea also claims as its own.
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Japan released its 2011 defense report today, reiterating its claim to a chain of small islands (see map here) also claimed by South Korea.
The document comes a day after South Korea denied three Japanese lawmakers entry into the country. The three intended to visit Ulleung Island, the South Korean island closest to the disputed chain, known as the Dokdo Islands in South Korea and the Takeshima Islands in Japan. South Korean officials told the lawmakers that the visit could "trigger actions that would threaten public safety," the Japan Times reports.
The topic is so sensitive that even the talk of a visit launched protests in South Korea.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports that the Japanese lawmakers' trip to Ulleung Island was seen as an attempt to bolster Japanese claims to the disputed island chain and that their entry was denied based on immigration laws that allow the government to ban people from entry who threaten the country's interests or public safety.
Yoshitaka Shindo of Japan's main opposition group, the Liberal Democratic Party, warned that turning away them away would become "a big diplomatic problem," according to the Japan Times. "Takeshima is Japanese territory," Mr. Shindo said at the airport. "Our positions are different and we need to talk to each other on the issue."