Motorcyclist throws brick through door of Korean consulate in Hiroshima
A motorcyclist wearing a helmet threw a brick through the glass entrance door of the South Korean consulate office in Hiroshima on early Saturday, consulate officials said, amid diplomatic tensions over the unprecedented visit by President Lee Myung-bak to Seoul's easternmost islets of Dokdo, which Tokyo has long claimed as its own.
No one was hurt in the apparent attack that left a hole in the door. South Korean diplomats in Hiroshima said it might be related to Friday's visit by Lee to Dokdo.
According to the consulate office's CCTV footage, the person, who is believed to be a man, threw the brick through the glass door while operating a motorcycle around 2:50 a.m. on Saturday.
Japanese police officers were standing close by the consulate office, but the person quickly disappeared from their view when they arrived at the scene after hearing a loud crash, consulate officials said.
Japanese police were investigating the case as a possible response to Lee's visit to Dokdo, they said.
On Friday, Lee visited the rocky outcroppings lying in the East Sea, around halfway between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, becoming the first South Korean president ever to visit the islets.
Japan lodged strong protests against the surprise visit, recalling its ambassador from Seoul, calling in South Korea's envoy to Tokyo and warning that the trip will seriously worsen relations between the two countries.
Japan has long laid claims to Dokdo in school textbooks, government reports and other ways, undercutting better ties between the neighboring nations.
South Koreans see those claims as amounting to denying Korea's rights because the country regained independence from Japanese colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, which includes Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea has kept a small police detachment on Dokdo since 1954.
The territorial claims have been viewed by South Koreans as a sign Japan has not fully repented for its imperialist past, along with Tokyo's refusal to address long-running grievances of elderly Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II. (Yonhap)