1. Opinions in Favor of Korea’s Possession of Dokdo by Prominent Legal Scholars
The late Jon M. Van Dyke, who was a professor of international law at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law, stated that the Korean side has much more evidence related to the exercise of its sovereign power over Dokdo than does the Japanese counterpart. This, he also said, is proven by Japanese historical sources in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In addition, he explained, the annexation of the island by Japan in 1905 must be considered as part of imperialist measures to colonize all of Korea that had begun in 1904. He emphasized that Dokdo had never been a no-man’s land and that Korea was in no position to protest Japan’s forced annexation at the time. The fact that the distance between Dokdo and Ulleungdo is shorter than that between Dokdo and the Oki Islands of Japan and that Korea has had de facto sovereignty over the island for the past 50 years works in favor of the argument that Dokdo is part of Korean territory.
Larry A. Niksch, a specialist in Asian Affairs with the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, said that the issue of Dokdo is a territorial dispute that includes historical origins as well as control of marine resources and national pride. He also said that Korea is in a more advantageous position than Japan in that it has had de facto sovereignty over the island.
Meanwhile, Serita Kentarō, a professor in the School of Law, Aichi Gakuin University, in Japan, proposed a solution for the Dokdo dispute involving the Japanese government’s expression of regret for colonization which would be followed by acknowledgement of Dokdo as Korean territory, establishment of a boundary line in the middle between Ulleungdo and the Oki islands, creation of a 12-nautical-mile exclusive fisheries zone and opening of the seas to the world’s scientists, and the signing of a Japanese-Korean treaty on Dokdo.