Two Japanese scholars said Saturday that they have been warned by their government in Tokyo for visiting South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, to which Japan has also laid claims.
Norio Kuboi, a former professor at Momoyama Gakuin University, Yoshihiro Kuroda, a former lecturer at the Kobe Shoin Women's University in Osaka, and another Japanese made the visit to Dokdo on Thursday where they declared the islets Korean territory.
Right after the trip, the scholars said they were visited by two Japanese consular officials and were given a letter that said their act was in conflict with Japan's position on the islets and warned they should not visit the islets again.
"We were not intimidated at all as our beliefs are clear," Kuroda told Yonhap News Agency.
An official at the Japanese consul general in Busan acknowledged that its diplomats did deliver the letter and said it was part of a normal operation to convey a foreign ministry position to them.
Japan has long laid claims to Dokdo in the country's school textbooks, government reports and other ways, stoking enmity in South Korea against its former colonial ruler. South Korea views the claims as a sign that Japan has not fully repented for its imperialist past.
South Korea also says the territorial claims amount to Japan denying Korea's independence from its 1910-45 colonial rule, because the country reclaimed sovereignty over its territory -- including Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula -- when it regained independence.
South Korea has been keeping a small police detachment on Dokdo since 1954. (Yonhap News)