Japanese Territory
 

April 4, 2014

Takeshima

Takeshima Issue

Japan’s Territorial Sovereignty over Takeshima

 Numerous maps and documents clearly demonstrate that Japan has recognized the existence of Takeshima for centuries. In the early 17th century, Japanese merchants were given permission for passage to Utsuryo Island by the Japanese government, and they used Takeshima as a navigational port for ships on their way to Utsuryo Island as well as a ground to catch sea lions and other marine resources. Japan established sovereignty over Takeshima by the mid 17th century.

 In the early 1900s, residents of the islands of Shimane Prefecture called for a stable situation to conduct their sea lion hunting business. The Japanese government incorporated Takeshima into Shimane Prefecture in January 1905, following by a Cabinet decision. By doing so, the Japanese government reaffirmed its sovereignty over Takeshima.

akeshima Fishery Company
around 1909.

▲Takeshima Fishery Company around 1909. (Photo: From “A Historical-Geographical Study of Takeshima” by Kenzo Kawakami; Kokon Shoin)

apanese fishermen actively
involved in fishing on and around
Takeshima. (1930s)

▲Japanese fishermen actively involved in fishing on and around Takeshima. (1930s) (Photo: Private collection, provided by the “Takeshima Archives Room” of the Shimane Prefectural Government)

Recognition of Japan’s Territorial Sovereignty by the San Francisco Peace Treaty and the International Community

 

Signed in September 1951, the San Francisco Peace Treaty states that Japan recognizes the independence of Korea and renounces “Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and Dagelet.” A request made by the Republic of Korea to include Takeshima was explicitly rejected by the United States on the grounds that Takeshima had never been treated as Korean territory and that Korea had at no point claimed sovereignty over Takeshima.

Rejection of the Republic of Korea’s claims: In the Letter from the then
United States Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, Dean Rusk,
of August 1951.(copy)

▲Rejection of the Republic of Korea’s claims: In the Letter from the then United States Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, Dean Rusk, of August 1951.

Illegal Occupation of Takeshima by the ROK

 In January 1952, the then President of the Republic of Korea, Syngman Rhee, unilaterally drew the so-called “Syngman Rhee Line,” incorporating Takeshima into the ROK side of the line. This act was clearly against international law. As a result of this decision, numerous Japanese fishing boats crossing the line were captured by the ROK authorities, resulting in several Japanese casualties. In July 1953, the ROK authorities fired at a patrol vessel of the Japan Coast Guard that was sailing near Takeshima. Since that time, the ROK has continued its illegal occupation of Takeshima, stationing security personnel and taking further unilateral actions, such as constructing lodgings, a monitoring facility, a lighthouse, a port and docking facilities on the islands.

Syngman Rhee Line

Japan’s Response to Takeshima

 Japan has repeatedly lodged protests in the strongest terms against the Republic of Korea’s illegal occupation of Takeshima. In order to resolve this dispute in a peaceful manner, Japan has proposed to refer this case to the International Court of Justice on three occasions since 1954. However, the Republic of Korea has rejected all of these proposals.

 Japan and the Republic of Korea have built a relationship of trust through activities such as the joint hosting of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. In order to establish genuine and friendly relations between the two nations, Japan will continue to seek the settlement of the dispute in a calm and peaceful manner on the basis of international law.

Rejection of the Republic of Korea’s claims: In the Letter from the then
United States Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, Dean Rusk,
of August 1951.(copy)

▲Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel fired at near Takeshima by the Republic of Korea in July 1953. (Photo: The Yomiuri Shimbun)

(From Leaflet: Takeshima)