Japan Protests Against Korean Shooting Drills in East Sea

Japan on Thursday protested against a shooting drill Korea plans to hold near its easternmost islets of Dokdo.

"We cannot accept the practice in light of our country's stance on our territorial right” to Dokdo, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters. "It is extremely regrettable."

Japan's far-right government insists on a flimsy colonial claim to the Korean islets.

Tokyo lodged a protest through the embassy in Seoul last week after it was informed about the upcoming target practice.

It is rare for Tokyo to demand the scrapping of such defensive drills on the high seas.

The Navy plans regular shooting drills on Friday in waters some 20 km southwest of Dokdo in the East Sea. But Tokyo claims that the range of the drills encompasses an ocean stretch near Dokdo controlled by Japan.

Japan's Jiji Press reported that this is the first time Tokyo has issued a warning to its ships traveling near Dokdo citing Korean military drills.

The Foreign Ministry here said that the drill will take place in the Korean waters surrounding the islets and dismissed the protest.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 20, 2014 09:19 KST