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Japan nixes S. Korea demand to shut museum devoted to disputed isles

TOKYO — The Japanese minister in charge of territorial issues on Friday rejected Seoul’s demand that a new museum exhibiting items Tokyo says back its claim on South Korea-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan be closed.


“It is obvious that Takeshima is Japan’s territory in terms of history and international law. The criticism (from South Korea) misses the point,” Tetsuma Esaki told a press conference.


The National Museum of Territory and Sovereignty that opened in Tokyo on Thursday displays items, such as documents and maps, related to Dokdo, as the islands are named by South Korea, or Takeshima as they are called by Japan.


On Thursday, South Korea quickly lodged a protest over the opening of the museum, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman saying the country “sternly demands that the museum is shut down immediately,” calling Japan’s claim on the islets “unjust.”


“I expect many people at home and abroad to visit the museum to deepen their understanding (of Japan’s position) and renew their perceptions of history,” the Japanese minister Esaki added.


The museum also displays items on the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which are claimed by China and Taiwan and called Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.


Taiwan also lodged a protest with Japan on the day of the museum’s opening.

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