SEOUL--South Korean President Moon Jae-in gave Japan a mauling over colonial-era issues in a March 1 speech here to mark the 1919 start of his country's fight for independence.

He called on Japan to revise its "erroneous view of history," referring to the territorial dispute over the Takeshima islets in the Sea of Japan and its stance on issues affecting former "comfort women."

Moon's harsh words triggered an immediate response from Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo, who said a strongly worded protest was sent to Seoul through diplomatic channels.

Noting that next year will mark the centennial of a 1919 uprising against Japanese colonialism, Moon called on Tokyo to face up to its treatment of Koreans from 1910 to 1945 when the peninsula was under the yoke of Japanese imperial rule.

Referring to the islets South Korea calls Dokdo, Moon said that Tokyo's continued territorial claims to the Takeshima islets "was nothing more than a rejection of any reflection of Japan's imperialist invasion."

He pointed out that the islets were the first area occupied by Japanese forces as they proceeded along its course of invading the Korean Peninsula.

While it is common in South Korea to discuss the Takeshima issue from a historical standpoint rather than a territorial matter, it is rare for a South Korean president to emphasize that aspect in a formal speech.

Once again, Moon took issue with Japan over its insistence that Seoul implements measures laid out in a landmark bilateral agreement reached in December 2015 that was touted as a "final, irreversible resolution" of the issues related to the women forced to provide sex to wartime Japanese soldiers.

"As the victimizer, the Japanese government should never say the issue 'is over,'" he said.

But Moon added he would not ask Japan to take special additional measures.

He also did not shut out the possibility of improving ties with Japan and moving to a future-oriented relationship.

"I clearly hope that we can together move toward the future based on true reflection and reconciliation that would be fitting for our closest neighbor," he added.

Breaking from tradition of past South Korean presidents, Moon gave his speech at the museum set up on the site of what was once Seodaemun Prison in Seoul where independence activists were jailed during Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

In Tokyo, Suga called Moon's reference to the comfort women issue "extremely regrettable and totally unacceptable because it goes against the bilateral agreement."