Japan has long laid claims to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, stoking deep resentment among South Koreans against Japan, which colonized the Korean Peninsula in 1910-45.
Seoul's Foreign Ministry condemned Abe's comment made a day earlier, calling it nothing but "empty rhetoric and a meaningless thing."
Tokyo's repeated claims to the islets have long been a key source of tension between the two neighbors. South Korea has been keeping a small police detachment on Dokdo since 1954. (Yonhap)