Japan on Friday lodged a protest with South Korea over the latter’s military exercises near disputed islands, controlled by Seoul, in the Sea of Japan.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry said it conveyed the protest message through South Korean diplomat Kim Yong Gil at the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo.
Takehiro Funakoshi, director general at the ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, told Kim the drills are “totally unacceptable” and “extremely regrettable.”
Seoul holds military exercises twice a year around the pair of islets known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.
The latest drills were held on Thursday.
Funakoshi stressed the disputed islets “are an integral part of Japanese territory in light of historical facts and based on international law,” the ministry said in a statement.
South Korean Navy and Coast Guard conducted the bi-annual drills a day earlier to “enhance the defense of its easternmost islets of Dokdo.”
It also comes after Tokyo in its updated National Security Strategy released last week renewed its claims over the disputed islets.
“The closed-door drills, formally known as the East Sea territory protection training, were aimed at ensuring the country's military readiness to fend off potential foreign infiltrations to the rocky outcroppings,” an unnamed South Korean source told Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency.
“It is a regular training that our military carries out each year to respond to potential threats to our territory and citizens' property,” the source added.