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The Japanese Illegitimate Claim: Takeshima
May 27, 2005
Korea Objects to Japanese Illegitimate Claim
The controversy over Dokdo has simmered for years, but became heated again after a Feb. 23, 2005, press event at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents Club on Korea-Japan Friendship Year at which Japan's ambassador to Korea, Toshiyuki Takano, was asked about Dokdo. "Takeshima is historically and legally Japanese territory," he said, using Japan's name for Dokdo. The press meeting came a day after Japan's Shimane Prefecture announced plans to nominate Feb. 22 as "Takeshima Day."
In response, the Republic of Korea strongly registered its objections with the Japanese government. "The government expresses strong regret over the notice, which is a clear infringement of the sovereignty of Dokdo," said Lee Kyu-hyung, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "This kind of act runs counter to the sincere efforts by our government and people to strengthen the relationship with Japan."
Historically, legally and geographically, Dokdo is Korean territory. While Japan occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945, its invalid claims to territory were reversed with subsequent international agreements after the end of World War II. While Japan kept four main islands and small islands to be determined, Dokdo were not included, and other Korean islands such as Jeju, Ulleung and Geomun were returned to Korean control.
"Dokdo was taken away during Japan's war of aggression but had been returned to Korea in 1945," President Roh Moo-hyun said in an interview on April 8, 2005. "We have abundant historical, legal and geographical evidences that Korea has had sovereignty over and actually controlled the islands for a long, long time."