March 16, 2005, marked the centennial of Japan’s illegal annexation of Dokdo, and “Takeshima Day” was declared through the “Ordinance for the Establishment of Takeshima Day.” The Japanese government’s Diet agreed to the incorporation of Dokdo on January 28, 1905, and decided to place it under the jurisdiction of Shimane Prefecture. The governor of Shimane Prefecture declared on February 22 that Dokdo was a part of Shimane Prefecture’s jurisdiction, and this date became “Takeshima Day.”
The Ordinance for the Establishment of Takeshima Day was comprised of three articles. Article 1 stated, “Declare Takeshima Day to promote the early establishment of Takeshima’s territorial rights and the development of public opinion on the Takeshima issue.” February 22 was determined to be Takeshima Day (Article 2). Article 3 stated that the Shimane Prefecture government should “investigate different possibilities for promoting activities appropriate to Takeshima Day.”
1. As a symbol of Korean independence and sovereignty, Dokdo’s value lies in its strategic, economic, and ecological possibilities.
2. Since the frequent trespassing by Japanese people during the chaos and confusion of the Korean War, Dokdo has been protected by Hong Sun-jil and the Dokdo Volunteer Guard with assistance from the police.
3. As a result of the Shimane Prefectural Assembly’s approval of the Ordinance for the Establishment of Takeshima Day, diplomatic tension between Korea and Japan grew.
4. The Japanese government revised its educational policies in 2006. Territory education topics have since appeared in elementary, junior-high, and high school courses, damaging Korea-Japan relations.
5. A calm, logical refutation of Japan’s territorial claims on the basis of legal and historical facts, and deeper, wider perspectives are necessary for the peaceful resolution of disputes in East Asia.
Glossary of Terms
Natural gas hydrates, Dokdo Volunteer Guards, Takeshima Day, Northern Territories (Kuril Islands), Reference manual on the course of study, Senkaku Islands, Diaoyu Islands