Japan lodged a protest against a South Korean military exercise on a group of disputed islets in the Sea of Japan, the government's top spokesman said Friday.
"Our country cannot accept it," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference, referring to the drill on the islets known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan. "This is extremely regrettable."
Junichi Ihara, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, conveyed the protest to a senior South Korean envoy in Japan, while the Japanese Embassy in Seoul also made a protest over the matter to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"Takeshima is our country's territory historically and under international law," Suga said, adding Japan is "always prepared" to bring the territorial issue to the International Court of Justice.
The exercise conducted Friday involved the Navy, the Army and maritime police and navy special forces, according to South Korea's Defense Ministry.