• Dokdo in the East Sea
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9 Chapter Reference


Korea’s Rebuttals to Japan’s Dokdo Claims



▶ Japan’s Claim


1. “Japan has been aware of Dokdo’s existence since ancient times.”
This can be verified through various maps and documents, the principal source being Nagakubo Sekisui’s “Kaisei Nihon yochi rotei zenzu” (“Revised Map of Japan’s Land and Roads”), which includes borders.

▶ This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


Japan has recognized Dokdo as Korean territory for a long time.
The first edition of Nagakubo’s map does not include Ulleungdo and Dokdo as Japanese territory (different colors) and the islands are marked outside the border of Japan.
Moreover, Japan’s survey documents have recorded and identified Dokdo as Korean territory.
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs published “Chōsen-koku kōsai shimatsu naitansho” (Confidential Inquiry into the Particulars of Korea’s Relations with Japan) in 1870 (Figure 1). This document stated that “Jukdo (Ulleungdo) and Songdo (Dokdo) are Joseon territory.” This was an acknowledgement by Japan that the islands were Joseon territory.
“Map of Joseon and the Coast of the East Sea,” compiled by the Japanese Department of the Navy in 1876, also illustrates Dokdo as Korean territory, as do other survey maps (Figure 2).
The Daijōkan, the highest administrative office in the Meiji government, stated in 1877, “Ulleungdo and Dokdo have no relation with Japan, and you must keep that in mind.” It informed Shimane Prefecture of this through the Ministry of Home Affairs. (Figure 3) This pronouncement was based upon the border crossing prohibition issued by the Edo shogunate in the late seventeenth century.
○ Figure 1 – “Chōsen-koku kōsai shimatsu naitansho” (Confidential Inquiry into the Particulars of Korea’s Relations with Japan, 1870)
This document by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledges Ulleungdo and Dokdo as Joseon territory.
Jukdo (Ulleungdo) and Songdo (Dokdo) are considered as Joseon territory.
Songdo (Dokdo) is located near Jukdo (Ulleungdo). There are no written records regarding Songdo, but records for Jukdo are available as letters sent and received during the Genroku period [of 1688 into 1704] in Japan. After the Genroku period, Joseon people have resided there, but currently it is uninhabited. Bamboo, large bamboo reeds, and ginseng grow in the area, and fish are plentiful. This is based upon a survey of the current circumstances in Joseon. The approximate information is as written, and upon return, documents, illustrations, and blueprints will be submitted on a case-by-case basis. Complete.
Fourth month
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Sada Hakubo
Moriyama Shigeru
Saitō Sakae
 
○ 2: “Map of Joseon and the Coast of the East Sea” by the Japanese Department of the Navy (1876)
The Japanese Department of the Navy labeled Dokdo as Korean territory.
 
○ Figure 3: Daijōkan Order (1877)
The Daijōkan, the highest administrative office in the Meiji government, stated in 1877, “Ulleungdo and Dokdo have no relation with Japan, and you must keep that in mind.” It informed Shimane Prefecture of this through the Ministry of Home Affairs. (Figure 3) This pronouncement was based upon the border crossing prohibition issued by the Edo shogunate in the late seventeenth century.
“Jukdo (Ulleungdo) and Ildo (Dokdo) have no relation with Japan, and you must keep that in mind.”
Meiji 10 (1877), March 29
 

▶ Japan’s Claim


2. “There is no historical evidence of Korea’s awareness of Dokdo.”
Korea claims Usando to be Dokdo, but Usando refers to either Ulleungdo or a non-existent island.

▶This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


Historical sources and old maps prove Korea’s awareness of Dokdo.
Dokdo is visible from Ulleungdo, thus ever since people inhabited Ulleungdo people have been aware of its existence. (Figure 4) The Annals of King Sejong Geographical Records (1454) states, “The two islands are located in the middle of the East Sea. The two islands are close enough that the other is visible on a clear day.” In addition, the New and Expanded Complete Conspectus of the Territory of the Eastern Country (1531), Compilation of Reference Documents on the Eastern Country (1770), Essentials of Governance (1808), Comprehensive Study of Civilization, Revised and Expanded (1908), and numerous other survey documents identify Dokdo by its older name of Usando.
The Compilation of Reference Documents on the Eastern Country, Essentials of Governance (1808), and Comprehensive Study of Civilization, Revised and Expanded each have the phrase “Ulleungdo and Usando are both a part of Usan, and Usando is what the Japanese refer to as ‘Songdo.’” Songdo is what the Japanese called Dokdo, thus Usando is Dokdo.
Both private and government maps of Korea compiled in Korea depict Ulleungdo and Dokdo together, clearly confirming their presence. (Figure 5)
Unlike today, Dokdo’s location and size were incorrectly depicted on several occasions. But that does not mean that Koreans were not aware of the islet’s presence.
○ Figure 4: Dokdo, as seen from Ulleungdo
Dokdo is visible from Ulleungdo.
 
○ Figure 5: “Map of the Eight Provinces”
The New and Expanded Complete Conspectus of the Territory of the Eastern Country (1531) includes the “Map of Joseon,” which shows both Ulleungdo and Dokdo in the East Sea.
 

▶ Japan’s Claim


3. “Japan established sovereignty over Dokdo in the mid-seventeenth century.”
In 1618, in the early Edo period, the Oya and Murakawa families of Yonago, in Matsue domain received border crossing permits from the Edo government to exclusively fish near Ulleungdo. The fishermen presented abalone as gifts to the shogunate. Japanese fishermen used Dokdo as fishing grounds and as a stop-over point en route to Ulleungdo. Sovereignty was established by the mid-seventeenth century at the latest.

▶This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


Recognition of Ulleungdo and Dokdo as Korean territory by Japanese government documents
Border crossing permits are not required to enter areas considered to be a country’s own territory. Thus, such permits indicate that Japan recognized Ulleungdo and Dokdo to be foreign territory.
Records on Observations on Oki (1667) is a Japanese document from the seventeenth century that has the phrase “Japan’s northwestern border is determined to be the Oki Islands.” Japan recognized that Ulleungdo and Dokdo were not within its territory.
When the Edo shogunate prohibited travel to Ulleungdo in the late-seventeenth century, an inquiry was made to Matsue domain. “Other than Jukdo (Ulleungdo), are any other islands excluded from Matsue domain’s jurisdiction?” In its reply the Matsue domain stated, “Including Takeshima (Ulleungdo) and Matsushima (Dokdo), there are no other islands included in the jurisdiction.” This reply clearly states that Ulleungdo and Dokdo were not part of Matsue domain’s jurisdiction. (Figure 6)
○ Figure 6: Response to the Matsue domain inquiry by the Edo shogunate (1695)
Jukdo is not a part of Inaba, which is in Hoki’s jurisdiction.
I have heard that two merchants, Oya Kyūemon and Murakawa Ichibei of Yonago, in Hakushu, obtained sealed permits from Matsudaira Shintarō to cross the border for fishing. I have heard that they crossed the border prior to receiving permits, but I am uncertain of the circumstances. (Omitted)
Other than Takeshima and Matsushima, no other islands are part of the [Inaba and Hoki] jurisdictions.
 

▶ Japan’s Claim


4. “Although Japan prohibited border crossing to Ulleungdo in the late-seventeenth century, crossing to Dokdo was still permitted.”In 1696, the Edo shogunate acknowledged that Ulleungdo was Korean territory and prohibited crossing of the border to Ulleungdo, but crossing to Dokdo was still permitted. This meant that Japan considered Dokdo to be Japanese territory.

▶This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


Dokdo was in the same jurisdiction as Ulleungdo, thus a separate prohibition was not necessary.
Oya family documents from 1659 and 1660 state, “Matsushima is located near Takeshima” and “Matsuhima is located within Takeshima.” These records confirm that Dokdo was considered to be in the same jurisdiction as Ulleungdo. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that the “Takeshima (Ulleungdo) border crossing prohibition” from 1696 (Figure 7) includes Dokdo, as well.
As the Japanese government stated, “When traveling to Ulleungdo, Dokdo is used as a marina or an ‘eochaeji.’” Therefore, a “Dokdo border crossing permit” did not exist. A separate “Dokdo border crossing prohibition” was unnecessary. It is within reason to believe that the Ulleungdo border crossing prohibition included Dokdo, as well.
○ Figure 7: Jukdo (Ulleungdo) Border Crossing Prohibition (1696)
(Omitted) Previously, when Matsudaira Shintarō was a lord of Inshu and Hakushu, two merchants from Yonago in Hakushu, Murakawa Ichibei and Oya Jinkichi, crossed the border to Takeshima for fishing operations. Henceforth, crossing the border to Takeshima is prohibited.
New Year, twenty-eighth day
Tsuchiya Sagami no kami
Toda Yamashiro no kami
Abe Bungo no kami
Okubo Kaga no kami
Matsudaira Hoki no kami
 

▶ Japan’s Claim


5. “Information regarding An Yong-bok’s statements is unreliable”
An Yong-bok’s statements were made at the time of his own illegal activities and are inconsistent with the truth. There are numerous details that are not found in Japanese records.

▶This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


An Yong-bok’s statements, documented evidence from Korea and Japan
An Yong-bok’s activities were detailed in Joseon’s legal documents after thorough investigations. It is difficult to accept Japan’s arguments that the Joseon records are incorrect.
Japan’s claims that Joseon records are unreliable is incorrect simply because there is information in Joseon documents that is not present in Japanese documents.
※ An Yong-bok’s statements and activities are detailed in the Annals of King Sukjong, Daily Records of the Royal Secretariat (Seungjeongwon ilgi), Compilation of Reference Documents on the Eastern Country, and other Korean historical sources. They are also detailed in Takeshima Chronicle, Records of Crossing the Sea to Takeshima, Chronology of In-bu, Notes on Takeshima, and other Japanese historical documents.br/>Due to the activities of An Yong-bok, discussions about Ulleungdo and Dokdo took place in Japan. As a result, the two islands were recognized as Joseon territory.
When territorial disputes arose between Korea and Japan due to An Yong-bok’s activities, in 1695 the Edo shogunate sent an inquiry to the Matsue domain about Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Matsue domain’s reply was that they “were not included in the domain’s jurisdiction.”
The shogunate issued the border crossing prohibition in the first month of 1696, and it was not received by the Yonago residents until the eighth month of that year. Thus, Yonago residents continued to travel to Ulleungdo until that time.
Therefore, Japan’s refutation of An Yong-bok’s statements about meeting Japanese fishermen on Ulleungdo in the fifth month of 1696 is invalid.
A historical document entitled “Genroku 9 Korean Coastal Nautical Scrolls” was discovered in 2005. According to the interrogation documents, An Yong-bok carried his identification tag, which proved his Joseon heritage, as well as a map which showed that Ulleungdo and Dokdo were part of Gangwon-do.
○ Figure 8 – Yong-bok An Interrogation Documents (1696)
These documents reflect An Yong-bok’s activities during his second entry to Japan. He presented evidence that illustrated Jukdo (Ulleungdo) and Songdo (Dokdo) as being part of Gangwon-do.
 

▶ Japan’s Claim


6. “The annexation of Dokdo into Shimane Prefecture in 1905 was a reaffirmation of ‘Dokdo’s sovereignty.’”
The decision by the Japanese government to annex Dokdo into Shimane Prefecture in 1905 was a reaffirmation of “Dokdo’s sovereignty.”
Nakai Yōzaburō, a resident of the Oki Islands, submitted a request for “formal annexation and effective management,” and the Japanese government confirmed the annexation in the first month of 1905. In the second month of that year, the governor of Shimane Prefecture announced that Dokdo had become part of the Oki Islands’ jurisdiction.

▶This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


Illegal annexation of Dokdo during the Russo-Japanese War
In 1905, Japan’s main evidence for the annexation of Dokdo was that it was an uninhabited island. However, that claim changed after 1950 to the “reaffirmation of Dokdo’s Japanese sovereignty” because Japan realized that claiming a pre-emptive annexation of its own territory is contradictory.
Reaffirmation of the annexation was based on the claim that Dokdo is Japanese territory. However, this is a direct contradiction of the Daijōkan statement in 1877 that Ulleungdo and Dokdo are irrelevant to Japan.
Nakai Yōzaburō, a Japanese fisherman and entrepreneur, knew that Dokdo was Korean territory and attempted to submit a request to lease Dokdo from the Korean government. However, Japanese officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of the Navy (Yamaza Enjirō, Kimosuke Kaneyuki, and others) encouraged Nakai to submit a request for annexation instead.
At the time, an official in the Japanese Ministry of Home Affairs (the clerk Inoue) was opposed to the annexation of Korea. He stated, “If we annex a useless reef like Dokdo, the international community watching us will suspect that Japan has intentions to conquer Korea.”
○ Figure 9: The Imperial Ordinance No. 41 of the Great Han Empire (October, 1900)
The Great Han Empire brought Seokdo (Dokdo) into the jurisdiction of Uldo County.
 
○ Figure 10: Gangwon-do, Chuncheon City, Governor Lee Myeong-nae extra report; April 29, 1906, Deputy Prime Minister Park Je-sun, Order No. 3
Officials from Shimane Prefecture surveyed Dokdo in 1906, and while returning stopped at Ulleungdo. Gangwon-do Governor Lee Myeong-nae reported to Park Je-sun that Japan had annexed Dokdo. In response, Park issued Order No. 3 (April 29, 1906) which stated, “There is no basis for Japan’s claim of Dokdo. Reinvestigate Dokdo’s situation and the activities of the Japanese and report back.”
Furthermore, during the Russo-Japanese War, in early 1905 the decision and announcement to annex Dokdo into Shimane Prefecture were made unilaterally without any prior inquiry or notice to the Great Han Empire. On October 25, 1900, Imperial Ordinance No. 41 of the Great Han Empire (Figure 9) declared that Ulleungdo and Dokdo be reorganized as Uldo County. Thus, Japan’s annexation of Dokdo in 1905 is invalid.
The Korean government first learned of the annexation after officials from Shimane Prefecture surveyed Dokdo in March 1906. The governor of Ulleungdo immediately notified the Gangwon-do administrator as well as the central government the next day. After receiving the report, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Deputy Prime Minister responded stating, “There is no basis for Japan’s claim of Dokdo” and ordered an investigation. (Figure 10) However, the Korean government could not issue any diplomatic protest as the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905 had already deprived Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty. (Korean Daily Report, (January 1906), 5. Capital Gazette (September 1906), 5.) These newspapers reported the illegal annexation of Dokdo by Japan.
 

▶ Japan’s Claim


7. “The United States considered Dokdo to be Japanese territory during the development of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.”During the early stages of composing the San Francisco Peace Treaty, the Korean government requested that Dokdo be included in the list of territories that Japan would forfeit. However, the United States refused this request as Japan had sovereignty over Dokdo.
In 1951, the San Francisco Peace Treaty was formalized and Japan forfeited all rights, titles, and claims to Joseon, but Dokdo was not included.

▶This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


Extension of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, the Cairo Declaration, and the Potsdam Declaration
The United States recognized Dokdo as Korean territory in the initial draft of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which was completed around November 1949. However, by December 1949, through the lobbying efforts of the American political adviser William J. Sebald, Dokdo was not explicitly named in the territories that Japan had to forfeit. However, countless other major Korean islands were not explicitly listed either. It is unrealistic to have listed all of the Korean islands. As a result, this cannot be interpreted as Dokdo having been recognized as Japanese territory.
From the end of World War II to the formalization of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, Dokdo was treated separately from Japan by the General Headquarters of Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. Throughout the occupation of Japan, the General Headquarters of SCAP applied the provisions in SCAPIN 677 (issued on January 29, 1946), which excluded Dokdo and Ulleungdo from Japanese rule.
※ SCAPIN 677: “A memorandum that dismantled Japan’s territories and reverted political and executive control”
3. The contents of the declaration defined the scope of the Japanese domain to be the four main islands of Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku) and approximately 1,000 smaller adjacent islands. Section 3 expressly excludes (a) Ulleungdo, Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo), and others from the “1,000 smaller adjacent islands.”
The reason Dokdo was expressly excluded from Japan’s territories by the General Headquarters of SCAP is because the San Francisco Peace Treaty succeeded to the Cairo Declaration (1943) and Potsdam Declaration (1945), which commanded Japan to relinquish territories taken by “violence and greed.”
The San Francisco Peace Treaty was formalized in September 1951 and applied the terms set forth by the Allies. In addition, Japan presented a territorial map entitled “The Map of Japanese Territory” in October 1951 to the House of Representatives OR Diet?, and Dokdo was not labeled as Japanese territory. (Figure11)
Following Japan’s defeat, Dokdo reverted to Korean territory in 1945.
○ Figure 11: The Map of Japanese Territory (日本領域圖) (“Treaty of San Francisco” - Mainichi Daily News, 1952)
Japan acknowledged the exclusion of Dokdo from its territories upon the formalization of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.
 

▶ Japan’s Claim


8. “The military training zone designation of Dokdo by the United States Forces Japan is recognition of Dokdo’s Japanese sovereignty.”
In 1952, Japan designated the Dokdo area as a United States Forces Japan military training zone.
The United States-Japan Joint Committee, through the United States-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), designated Dokdo to be a military training zone, and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a notice.

▶This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


The Korean government protested to the United States Air Force, and the area was immediately excluded from military training exercises.
At this time, Dokdo was routinely used by Koreans as a fishery. (Figure 12) To exercise Japan’s sovereignty claim over Dokdo, the Japanese government designated the area as a military training zone and encouraged bombing training. Korean fishermen not only suffered damage to their livelihoods, but many were killed during the military bombing exercises. These facts can be verified through the historical records of the Japanese Diet.
※ Response by Deputy Foreign Minister Ishihara Genichirō to an inquiry by Yamamoto Toshinaka, a Diet member from Shimane Prefecture during a House of Representatives committee meeting.
Yamamoto: “As for the designation of the military training zone for the Occupation Forces, I think that if the vicinity of Takeshima is designated as a training area, it would help Japan gain confirmation of its territorial sovereignty over the island. Please tell me if that is what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends.”
Ishihara: “It seems that things are sought after in various ways largely from such an idea.”
○ Figure 12: Unveiling of the Dokdo Fishermen Memorial (June 8, 1950)
With the Governor of North Gyeongsang-do in attendance, a memorial service was held for the victims of the 1948 bombing of Dokdo.
Although Dokdo had in fact been designated as a military training zone, protest from the Korean government to the United States Air Force brought an immediate end to the military exercises. The Dokdo area was excluded from future military training activities.
 

▶ Japan’s Claim


9. “Korea is illegally occupying Dokdo.”
Korea has no basis in international law for its illegal occupation of Dokdo, and the activities conducted on Dokdo have no legal justification. Japan will continue to protest to Korea regarding its illegal occupation of Dokdo.

▶This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


Korea established sovereignty over Dokdo before the annexation by Shimane Prefecture in 1905.
Korea had established sovereignty over Dokdo prior to the annexation by Shimane Prefecture in 1905. In 1945, Japan withdrew from the island after Korea gained independence. Since 1948, Dokdo has been assigned an address and its sovereignty has been exercised by the Korean government. At that time, the Dokdo address was North Gyeongsang-do, Ulleung County, Ulleung-eup, Dodong-ri 1. (Figure 13)
Dokdo’s current administrative area is North Gyeongsang-do, Ulleung County, Ulleung-eup, Dokdo-ri 1-96. About 40 people reside in Dokdo including police officers and government officials. A cruise line servicing Dokdo and Ulleungdo operates out of Ulleungdo’s home port. More than 100,000 foreign and domestic tourists visit Dokdo each year.
○ Figure 13: Korean territory – Dokdo’s lighthouse and the Korean flag
To protect Dokdo’s natural environment and ecosystems, the Korean government designated Dokdo as Natural Monument No. 336 “Dokdo Algae Breeding Grounds.” It was changed to “Dokdo Natural Protected Area” in 1999. In 2000, the Ministry of Environment Notice No. 2000-109 designated Dokdo as “Special Island” for its preservation.
The Japanese government’s claim of Korea’s de facto territorial sovereignty is nothing more than a unilateral threat.
 

▶ Japan’s Claim


10. “Dokdo’s sovereignty dispute should be resolved in the International Court of Justice.”
Japan has suggested that Dokdo’s territorial dispute should be resolved by the International Court of Justice, but the Korean government has refused.
The Japanese government offered in September 1954 and in March 1962 to resolve the Dokdo dispute in the International Court of Justice, but the Korean government did not accept.

▶This is why Japan’s claim is incorrect.


Dokdo is unequivocally Korean territory, therefore litigation in the International Court of Justice is unnecessary.
Dokdo is unequivocally Korean territory, therefore litigation in the International Court of Justice is unnecessary.
Dokdo is Korean territory that was invaded during the Russo-Japanese War and recovered after World War II. There is no question regarding its sovereignty, and there is no reason that this dispute must be resolved in the International Court of Justice.
Japan has refused to litigate in the International Court of Justice for similar territorial disputes with China (Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands) and with Russia (Kuril Islands). Of all their territorial disputes, Japan insists that only the Dokdo dispute be resolved through the International Court of Justice. This shows Japan’s hypocrisy, and it can even be interpreted as Japan’s lack of confidence in the territorial dispute.
The only way to resolve the Korea-Japan territorial dispute over Dokdo is for Japan to withdraw its claim. (Figure 14)
○ Figure 14: Cornerstone of Korea-Japan Reconciliation
 

 
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