Police: Man crashes Japanese embassy gate over disputed islands

The islands known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, pictured here in 2008, continue to be disputed.

Story highlights

  • There were no reported casualties in the incident
  • Seoul police: Earlier, a Japanese man posted a sign claiming Japanese ownership
  • There is a long-running dispute over the islets between Japan and South Korea

A South Korean man crashed a small truck into the front gate of the Japanese embassy in Seoul on Monday in an apparent protest over the ownership of islands claimed by both countries, officials said.

The truck was slightly damaged, and there were no casualties after the 62-year-old hit the gate at 4:55 a.m., Seoul police said. The man was detained for questioning, and police plan to charge him within the next few days, police said.

A sign in the truck said, "Dokdo island is a Korean island."

Earlier, a Japanese man had posted a sign across from the embassy saying the islets are Japanese territory, police said.

Osamu Fujimura, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, said the Japanese embassy in Seoul "filed a strong protest against the incident to the Foreign and Trade Ministry of South Korea and requested to take preventive measures."

The islets in the sea east of Korea, known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, have been a prickly issue for both countries. Japan has long claimed the islets as its territory, but Seoul said all Korean territory was returned after the country won independence from colonial rule by Japan in 1945.