A Territorial Dispute

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Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Dokdo

The Dokdo (Takeshima by Japan) conflict has been ongoing and it strains the bilateral relations between Korea and Japan. Recently, Japan has left a soar taste for Koreans with their approved textbooks claiming Dokdo belongs to Japan. The book states that S. Korea illegally occupies the territory and is approved by the Japanese government. Therefore, S. Korea retaliated by playing a 30 second video at Times Square in New York showing Dokdo as a territory to S. Korea. Plus, handing out thousands of bracelets with the words "Dokdo is Korean Territory" and "East Sea is Korea" written on them. This leaves the question: What makes Dokdo such a special place?

Dokdo's fame comes from its abundant supply of gas hydrate, which is the solid state of natural gas.  It is a critical source of natural energy and is about ten times greater than any existing source of natural gas. Thus, without rhyme or reason Japan has made a claim to the Dokdo region because of its abundant natural resources. Thus, is Japan's claim valid?

Yes

The Japanese have long known about the existence of Takeshima or in ancient times as "Matsushima". This is clear from many references both on maps and in text. Two families in 1618 were given permission by Tokugawa Shogunate and every year the families went fishing around the island. Thereby, the two families would give some of their fish to Shogunate as a tribute. Thus, during the mid 17 century, early Edo period Japan established sovereignty over Takeshima.

During 1905, Korea made no protest against Japan's takeover of Takeshima. Furthermore, Korea is an occupied nation and is in no place to defend its alleged claim. Thus, Japan lays claim to the island with its effective occupation during 1905 to 1945

To this day, Japan continues to insist that Takeshima is the rightful territory won during its war, which Japan retains the territorial rights of the island.

No

Dokdo has long been a part of Korean heritage since the early 500s, and the first Japanese written record on Dokdo, admits this fact. (Note: Japan went on a mission during their colonial rule to confiscate and burn all Korean history texts in an effort to eradicate the Korean way of life.)

Japan's government claims that Korea did not make a protest, but Korea has documents showing that both the government and people absolutely rejected it. Korean soldiers were sent to Dokdo by the new government in 1948, before the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco. Thus, Japan cannot claim Dokdo violates the treaty. On top of that with "SCAPIN No. 677" means areas of Japan will be restored to its owner.

Dokdo is currently inhabited by Koreans, which includes the Korean police and some residents, but no Japanese inhabitants.