On February 23, 2013, Japan held an annual rally over a set of tiny islands which are controlled by South Korea. The islands have been at the centre of a long standing territorial feud between the two countries. The event was attended by about 500 people in the Shimane Prefecture in western Japan. The people who attended the event also included the highest ranking Japanese officials and national politicians. When South Korea heard of the rally, they urged Tokyo to cancel it.
Tokyo reacted angrily when hundreds of activists shouted anti-Japanese slogans outside Japanese embassy in Seoul. Tokyo, for the rally, had referred to the islands in the sea of Japan as Takeshima, where as they are known as Dodko in South Korea. Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan said, “Takeshima is an integral part of our country”.
South Korea was particularly angered by the presence of Aiko Shimajiri at the rally. The Foreign Ministry said, “Our government strongly protests the dispatch of a Japanese government official to such an unjustifiable event”. The ministry added that it had called the deputy chief of the Japanese mission to formally register a protest over the Shimane Event.