Japan has re-asserted its sovereignty claim over the Dokdo Island, located between Japan and South Korea, sparking off a fresh territorial dispute.

Tokyo has released an official statement reiterating its claim to the Island and issued the Diplomatic Blue Book 2013 amid escalating tensions in the region.

The small island situated in the East Sea has been at the centre of a contentious diplomatic issue between the two countries for several years. It is roughly 210 km from South Korea and 25 km from Japan.

Seoul has protested against the Japanese claim in strong words.

"The Korean government strongly protests against the Japanese government's endorsement of the Diplomatic Blue Book that contains an unjust sovereignty claim to Dokdo," said foreign ministry spokesperson Cho Tai-young.

Demanding an "immediate withdrawal" of the claim, the spokesperson added: "[Seoul] once again emphasises that, in order for the two countries to restore the trust between them, the Japanese government should heal the wounds of the past as soon as possible by looking squarely at its past and acting in a responsible manner."

South Korean officials also summoned Japan's deputy chief of mission in Seoul and urged Japan to retract the claim.

Both Seoul and Tokyo have claimed rights over the island ever since Japan ended its colonial rule in 1945. South Korea contends that the claim made by Japan is an indicator of imperialism over Seoul.

South Korea has also deployed a posse of police personnel on the island.

Relations between the two countries hit a new low after former president Lee Myung-bak became the first leader to visit the island in 2012.