Japan lodges protest with S. Korea over legislator's visit to Takeshima Islands

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa says he has lodged a strong protest with Seoul after a South Korean opposition legislator visited the disputed Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan on Monday.

South Korea controls the islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says South Korea is illegally occupying them.

Hayashi told reporters on Tuesday that the visit was made despite Japan's request in advance to cancel it. He said it was absolutely unacceptable and extremely regrettable as the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory, in light of historical facts and based on international law.

He said he made the protest through diplomatic routes on Monday and demanded measures to prevent such incidents from occurring again.

The leader of South Korea's Rebuilding Korea Party, Cho Kuk, arrived on Takeshima with related officials and read out a statement claiming that the islands are South Korea's territory. He also criticized South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol's policies toward Japan. The Rebuilding Korea Party became the second-largest in the opposition following a general election in April.