Japan has thrown a wet blanket over the recent reconciliatory mood springing up in East Asia.
In its annual foreign policy document, the "Diplomatic Bluebook," it has once again repeated its false claim to South Korea's easternmost Dokdo Island, saying Dokdo is "illegally occupied by South Korea.
It was a move that was immediately denounced on Tuesday by Seoul's foreign ministry.
"Our government strongly protests against Japan's 'Diplomatic Bluebook' having repeated this claim to South Korea's sovereign territory of Dokdo, and it strongly urges Tokyo to immediately drop the claim."
The spokesperson said Seoul reiterates that the claim is "futile" and has no impact whatsoever on South Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo, which is justified historically, geographically and by international law.
He also said the claim is "unjustified and absurd," and warned that it will only hinder the development of Seoul-Tokyo ties.
In its bluebook, Japan also claimed again that the body of water between Japan and Korea should be called the "Sea of Japan," a name it said is the only one confirmed internationally.
Seoul's foreign ministry called in the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Japanese Embassy, Koichi Mizushima, to lodge a formal complaint.
The complaint said in particular that Seoul cannot accept the "Sea of Japan" label, saying it is rightfully called the "East Sea," a name that has been used in Korea for over 2-thousand years.
The Japanese document urged Seoul to implement the so-called "comfort women agreement" reached in 2015, which was meant to provide support for the victims of Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women.
The deal did not take into consideration the opinions of the victims or include an official, sincere apology from Japan and has been neglected for months.
While Japan's claims are not new, what's notable this year is that there is much more material related to Dokdo and the comfort women issue compared to last year.
It has also deleted a phrase that called South Korea Japan's "most important neighbor that shares strategic interests."
And doing little to build closer ties with North Korea, the document condemned the regime's nuclear tests and missile launches as severe threats and maintained its hardline stance.
"Ties between South Korea and Japan seemed to be on the mend since their three-way talks with China last week, but observers say Japan's lack of repentance for its past war crimes could isolate it further on North Korea issues, especially with even Pyongyang urging Tokyo to apologize.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News."