Two lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan attended the Shimane prefectural government’s contentious ceremony Tuesday to promote Japan’s claim to a group of South Korean-controlled islets for the first time from the party.
The sixth ceremony to commemorate ‘‘Takeshima Day’’ saw a record-high 13 parliamentarians in total among some 500 participants, but has had no central government official attending since its 2006 start .
At the ceremony, Shimane Gov Zembee Mizoguchi submitted a petition calling for the establishment of a government body in charge of the Takeshima issue to the lawmakers, including the DPJ’s Shu Watanabe and Hisaaki Komuro.
Eisuke Mori from the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party criticized the DPJ-led government for ‘‘doing nothing’’ in dealing with the territorial issues of Takeshima and the Russian-controlled islands off Hokkaido which Japan calls the Northern Territories.
The event was held at a time when public interest in territorial disputes is on the rise in Japan following the collision incident last September between Chinese and Japanese ships near the Senkaku Islands claimed by China and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit in November to one of the Russian-held islands Japan claims.