Yoshitaka Shindo, Tomomi Inada and Masahisa Sato were greeted on arrival in Seoul by hundreds of protestors, many had banners stressing South Korean ownership of a disputed group of islands called Takeshima, which are referred to as Dokdo in South Korea. South Korea has effectively ruled the islands since the end of World War II.
Shindo said in a video message on his Web site that, “South Korea has illegally and militarily occupied part of what is undoubtedly our territory. We don’t intend to fight there. We want to express our feeling of anger to the South Korean people.”
South Korean immigration officials said the LDP members are refusing to leave the airport until they are given a reason for their entry being declined.
“They are being held at the airport before being shipped back to Tokyo,” a South Korean Justice Ministry spokesman said.
South Korean officials said last week that it would not allow the Diet members into their country.
The latest clash between the countries was sparked by Korean Air giving its new Airbus A380 jet a test flight over the islands in June. Japan’s government responded to the test flight by banning Foreign Ministry officials from using Korean Air for one month.