The Daijōkan was the highest organ of the Meiji government. The Daijōkan of pre-modern Japan in the seventh and eighth centuries was an advisory body to the emperor and administered the core tasks of the state. The Daijōkan in the modern period was established in June 1868, and existed until the cabinet system was introduced in December 1885. After the Meiji Restoration, the Daijōkan had complete control of state power and the Minister of the Left and the Minister of the Right oversaw all branches of the office. The Daijōkan structure divided power into three separate legislative, administrative, and judicial branches with each branch having its own executive official. However, in practice, there was no division of power and the Daijōkan had unified control. Structural reform in 1869 placed six ministries under the Daijōkan. Reform in 1871 then placed eight ministries placed under the three branches. Led by the Chancellor (J. Daijō daijin), the executive branch assisted the emperor, supervised state affairs, and commanded the military. The legislative and judicial branches were abolished in 1875, and the Diet and the Supreme Court were established. In December 1885, and the Daijōkan was abolished. The Meiji government established the cabinet system centered on the prime minister.
1. The Daijōkan stated in March 1877 that Dokdo had no relation with Japan.
2. The Joseon government initiated the development of Ulleungdo in April 1882, and settlers officially started to reside on Ulleungdo and its neighboring islands in 1883.
3. Imperial Ordinance No. 41 of the Korean Empire was issued on October 25, 1900, and sovereignty over Ulleungdo and Dokdo was claimed in accordance with modern law.
4. Recognizing Ulleungdo and Dokdo’s strategic value during the Russo-Japanese War, Japan illegally annexed Dokdo as Japanese territory in 1905.
5. In 1946, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers ordered Japan to forfeit executive and political control over Dokdo, and prohibited Japanese vessels from coming within 12 nautical miles of Dokdo.
6. In January 1952, President Syngman Rhee declared “sovereignty over the adjacent coast” and established the Peace Line. South Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo was made clear domestically and internationally.
Glossary of Terms
“Confidential Inquiry into the Particulars of Korea’s Relations with Japan,” “Map of Kijukdo,” Daijōkan Order, Imperial Ordinance No. 41 of the Korean Empire, Seokdo, Shimane Prefecture Notice No. 40, Supreme Commander for the Allied Power Index Number (SCAPIN), Japan-Korea Fisheries Agreement