Seven out of ten people in Japan are interested in the Takeshima islands dispute, a recent government survey has revealed.
Although the size of the survey, added the fact it had a relatively low response rate, calls into question its validity as anything other than a publicity stunt by the Japanese government.
An outlying island on the Sea of Japan, Takeshima stands at the center of a decades-long territorial tug-of-war between Tokyo and Seoul.
In a bid to shore up public sentiment towards Takeshima, Japan’s Cabinet Office conducted what they say was a nationwide survey of around 3,000 people aged 20 and over about their thoughts on the issue.
Of the 60% who responded, 95% said they knew about Takeshima, known as Dokdo in South Korea.
Around 63% said South Korea has “unlawfully occupied” Takeshima, while 61% saw the islets as part of Shimane prefecture.
Some 61% believe the islands are historically and rightfully an inherent part of Japan’s territory.
Overall, 71% said they are keen on issue, compared to 28% who feel indifferent.
Seoul called on Tokyo to avoid provocations in a “stern” protest to Japan over the survey.
“Our government sternly protests Japan’s renewed provocative actions taken under the mask of a public survey over our territory Dokdo,” Seoul Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement, Yonhap news agency reports.
Tokyo has maintained that Takeshima is part of Japan’s sovereign territory and rebuked South Korea’s bid for control of the islands.
by Maesie Bertumen