South Korean activists on Thursday burned pictures of Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda and scuffled with police in a protest against Tokyo’s claims to disputed islands.
The demonstration was sparked after Japan’s education ministry this week announced the results of its review of a school history book reasserting Japan’s claim to the islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
Some 60 activists torched four placards showing Noda and chanted slogans after a rally outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul, which was tightly guarded by riot police, an AFP photographer said.
Brief scuffles broke out when police tried to stop the protesters.
The row over the islets – known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese – has often strained ties between Seoul and Tokyo.
Seoul complains Japan’s textbooks distort history. It also wants talks on compensation for Japan’s use of Korean women as military sex slaves during World War II.
Japan says all colonial issues were settled in a 1965 compensation deal that led to the normalisation of relations.
South Korea’s foreign ministry expressed “disappointment and frustration” over Japan’s approval of the school book.
“It is very regrettable,” spokesman Cho Byung-Jae said, adding Japan should not hurt ties with South Korea.