South Korea's Foreign Ministry came under fire Sunday for unauthorised use of clips from Japanese broadcaster NHK in its promotional video on the Dokdo islets.
The ministry removed the 12-minute video last Friday from its website and YouTube as the public broadcaster complained that the film uses without permission some 10-second scenes from its 2011 drama depicting the Russo-Japanese war.
The promotional piece was created by a private contractor.
Ministry officials said they plan to upload it again after thoroughly inspecting the whole clip and making technical revisions.
"The contractor has apologised and we the Foreign Ministry are sorry for such an incident," a ministry official told reporters, asking anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
"We will strive to carry out promotional activities for the international community substantively and effectively by proceeding with the project without delay."
The programme released on October 14 immediately rekindled a diplomatic brawl between the two countries. A few days later, the Japanese Foreign Ministry posted a 90-second clip on its website and YouTube, repeating its decades-long claim to the islets.
Seoul officials instantly lodged a protest. Then again last week, Park Joon-yong, director-general for Northeast Asian affairs, called in Takashi Kurai, a minister and deputy chief of the Japanese Embassy here. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Tai-young also issued a statement calling the video a "history-insensitive, anachronistic provocation" and demanding it be taken down at once.
But criticism emerged over the need for such a video in the first place at a time the two countries' relations are so frozen that it complicates essential security, economic and cultural cooperation.
Given Seoul's current administration of Dokdo, the ministry could have better spent the 10 months and 66 million won (US$76,000) used for the film production to counter Tokyo's assertion, critics said.