MATSUE, Japan, Feb. 22 (Xinhua)-- Japan's Shimane Prefecture on Friday held a ceremony to mark the so-called "Takeshima Day" with the attendance of some 500 people including a senior Japanese government official and 19 Japanese Diet members.
The Japanese government sent a representative from the Cabinet Office to attend this year's ceremony, the eighth one that was held, for the first time ever. Diet members were from political parties including the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).
The event, held at a major conference hall in the prefectural capital of Matsue, includes speeches and workshops on historical and geopolitical issues and a photo exhibition about the islands.
Presiding over the opening ceremony of the annual gathering, Shimane Governor Zembee Mizoguchi said that a series of actions taken by South Korea recently including the president's visit to the islands last summer, was unacceptable.
"I do expect that the Japanese government to widely enlighten the public on the matter and to send their message to the international community," Mizoguchi said.
Parliamentary Secretary Aiko Shimajiri said that the Japanese government would hereafter clarify its stance regarding the territorial dispute over the islands and promise to place the territorial dispute as an issue that should be discussed among all Japanese people.
After the LDP's landslide victory in the general election last December, Shinzo Abe's new government decided, against expectation, to postpone a plan to hold a government backed "Takeshima Day" ceremony.
In response, leaders from local communities submitted a written demand to the Japanese government calling for early cabinet decision to hold the ceremony as a national event, as well as accelerating efforts to persuade the international community to justly admit Japan's sovereignty over the islands in accordance with international law.
South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also expressed "deep regret" over the Shimane event as well as the dispatch of a Japanese government official to the ceremony.
South Korea and Japan both consider the islands, known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan, as part of their own respective territories. The islands are now under the control of South Korea.
Japan's Shimane Prefecture issued an ordinance in 2005 to introduce the "Takeshima Day" and began to hold the ceremony every year since 2006.
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