The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan published the new brochure for Takeshima in Feb. 2008. You can download them in Japanese, English and Korean from their site below.
Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs （ English [PDF] /Japanese [PDF] /Korean [PDF] )
2008 - "10 Issues of Takeshima" by MOFA
Point 1. Japan has long recognized the existence of Takeshima.
A group of island that are currently called Takeshima were once known as "Matsusihma," and the island that is now known as Utsuryo (pronounced Ulleung in Korean) used to be known as "Takeshima" or "Isotakeshima." Although there has been a period of temporary confusion concerning the names of Takeshima and Utsuryo Island due to an error in the charting of Utsuryo Island by European explorers and others, it is obvious from a variety of written of written ducuments that Japan has long recognized the existence of "Takeshima" and "Matsushima." For example, on many maps, including "Kaisei Nippon Yochi Rotei Zenzu (Revised Complete Map of Japanese Lands and Roads: first published in 1779)" by Sekisui Nagakubo, which is the most prominent published cartographic projection of Japan, the locations of Utsuryo Island and Takeshima are accurately recorded at their current position between the Korean Penninsula and the Oki Islands.
Point 2. There is no evidence that the ROK has long recognized the existence of Takeshima.
The ROK claims that, based on what is recorded in old Korean texts such as "Samguksagi(History of the Three Kingdom : 1145)", "Sejong Sillok Jiriji(Geographical Appendix to the Veritable Records of King Sejong: 1454)", "Sinjeung Dongguk Yeoji Seungnam(A Revised Edition of the Augmented Study of Korea : 1531)", "Dongguk Munheonbigo(Study of Korean Documents: 1770)", "Mangi Yoram(Handbook of State Affairs: 1808)" and "Jeungbo Munheonbigo (Augmented Study of Documents: 1908)", Koreans had long been aware of the existence of the two islands of Utsuryo and Usan Island, and that this very Usan Island is the Takeshima of today.
However, whereas in "History of the Three Kingdoms", there is a description that Utsuryo Island which belonged to Usan Country became a part of Silla in the year of 512, but thee is no mention of Usan Island. Moreover, in records concerning Usan Island in ancient Korean documents, the island is described as a place in which many
people lived, and where large bamboo groves were cultivated. Such description does not represent the realities of Takeshima and rather reminds us of Utsuryo Island.
The ROK side claims that Usan Island is what the Japanese called Matsushima (present day Takeshima) based on the description in "Yeojiji (Record of Geography: 1656)" cited in "Study of Korean Documents", "Augmented Study of Documents" and "Handbook of State Affairs." However, there is a study which criticizes that the original text in "Record of Geography" indicates that Usan Island and Utsuryo Island are two names for one island and that the description in the documents such as "Study of Korean Documents" are indirect and inaccurate quotations from "Record of Geography". The study makes the point that the description in those documents were copied from "Ganggyego (Study of National Boundary)" (part of "Ganggyeji (Record of National Boundary: 1756)"), which had uncritically borrowed from the unreliable deposition by Ahn Yong-Bok (refer to point 5).
In the map attached to "A Revised Edition of the Augmented Survey of the Geography of Korea," Utsuryo Island and Usan Island are described as two separate islands. If, as the ROK claims, Usan Island were the present Takeshima, then it should have been described as a much smaller island than Utsuryo Island situated east of Utsuryo Island. However, the Usan Island is portrayed on the map as being roughly of the same size as Utsuryo Island, and situated between the Korean Peninsula and Utsuryo Island (west of Utsuryo Island). This clearly shows that that island does not exist at all in reality.
Point 3. Japan used Takeshima as a stopover port en route to Utsuryo Island and as fishing ground. It thus established its sovereignty over Takeshima by the mid 17th century at the very latest.
In 1618 (Note), two merchants of Yonago in the region of Houki-no-kuni in Tottori clan--Jinkichi Ohya and Ichibei Murakawa--received permission for passage to Utsuryo Island (then "Takeshima") from the Shogunate via the feudal lord of Tottori. Subsequently, the two families took turns in traveling to Utsuryo Island once every year, and engaging in catching abalone and sea lions, and in felling trees, including bamboo. (Note) Some believe that it was in 1625.
Both families built ships bearing the sails emblazing the hollyhock crest of the ruling that was caught being sent in tribute to the Shogunate and others. The families were thus engaged in a kind of Shogunate-approved monopoly on the island.
During this period, Takeshima that was on the route from Oki to Utsuryo Island was a navigational port and docking point for ships. It was naturally utilized as a rich fishing ground for sea lions and abalone.
Therefore, we firmly believe that Japan has established the sovereignty of Takeshima by the beginning of the Edo Period (1603-1867) in the mid 17th century at the very latest.
If the Shogunate then had recognized Utsuryo Island and Takeshima as foreign territories, it should have banned passage to these islands in 1653 when it issued its directive of "sakoku", closing Japan to the outside world and prohibiting Japanese from traveling abroad. However, no such measure was actually taken.
Point 4. At the end of the 17th century Japan prohibited passage of ships to Utsuryo Island, but not to Takeshima.
With the permission of the Shogunate to make passage for Utsuryo Island, the Ohya and Murakawa families of Yonago engaged in their monopolistic business enterprise unhindered by others for approximately 70 years.
In 1692 when the Murakawa family traveled to Utsuryo Island, they encountered many Korean on the island engaged in fishing. The following year, when the Ohya family made the the journey to the island, they also met with many Koreans and decided to bring two of these Koreans, Ahn Yong-Bok and Park Eo-Doon, back with them to Japan. This was at a time that the royal dynasty of Korea prohibited its people from travelling to Utsuryo Island.
The feudal clan of Tsushima(which was the point of contact with the Korean Government at that time), following directions from the Shogunate, which had become aware of the situation, repatriated Ahn and Park to Korea, and initiated negotiations with Korean requesting it to prohibit its fishermen's passage to Uturyo island. However, these negotiations failed to reach agreement, given a difference in opinions concerning the attribution of Utsuryo Island.
Having received a report from the Tsushima clan concerning the breaking-off of negotiations, the Shogunate decided to prohibit passage to Utsuryo Island in January 1696, judging that it is in the best interest of Japan to maintain favorable relations with Korea, The Tsushima clan was directed to convey this decision to the Korean side. The course of these negotiations concerning the attribution of Utsuryo Island is known generally as the "Takeshima Ikken (The Affair of Takeshima)."
On the other hand, passage to Takeshima was not banned. This clearly shows that Japan has regarded Takeshima as its territory since then.
Point 5. The deposition by Ahn Yong-Bok, on which ROK side bases its claim, contains many points that conflict with factual evidence.
After the Shogunate decided to prohibit passage to Utsuryo Island, Ahn Yong-Bok came once again to Japan. After that, Ahn, who was once again repatriated to Korean, was interrogated by the Korean officials as being in contravention of the ban on travel to Utsuryo Island. The deposition made by Ahn at the time is cited by the ROK side today as one of the foundations for its claim on the sovereignty over Takeshima.
According to documents held by the ROK side, Ahn
Yong-Bok confessed that while in Japan he had acquired a written document from
the Edo Shogunate that indicated the Shogunate's acceptance of Utsuryo Island and Takeshima as territories of Korea. He also confessed that this document was later confiscated by the lord of Tsushima. However, according to documents held by the Japanese side, although there are records of Ahn Yong-Bok having visited Japan in 1693 and 1696, there are no records that a written document such as that claimed by the ROK side was ever given to Ahn Yong-Bok.
Moreover, according to the documents held by the ROK side, Ahn Yong-Bok is reported to have stated on his 1696 visit to Japan that there were many Japanese on Utsuryo Island. However, his visit to Japan on that occasion was after the Shogunate had decided to prohibit passage to Utsuryo Island, and neither the Ohya nor Murakawa family went to the island at that time.
The descriptions on Ahn Yong-Bok in the documents held by the ROK side are based on the deposition made by a person who had raveled overseas violating national prohibition, and was interrogated upon his return to Korea. The deposition contains many points that conflict with factual evidence, including but not limited to those mentioned above. Regardless of that, these descriptions have been cited by the ROK side as one of the foundations for sovereignty over Takeshima.
Point 6. Japan reaffirmed its intention to claim sovereignty over Takeshima by incorporating Takaeshima into Shimane Prefecture in 1905.
It was at the beginning of the 1900s that sea lion hunting came to be undertaken in a full fledged manner in Takeshima. However, since there quickly grew to be excessive competition in sea lion hunting, Yozaburo Nakai, a resident of the Oki Islands of Shimane Prefecture, who aimed to stabilize his sea lion hunting business submitted a request in September 1904 to three government ministers (Home Minister, Foreign Minister, Agriculture and Commerce Minister) to incorporate the territory of the Lyanko Islands and to extend a 10-year lease on its utilization.
(Note) "Lyanko Islands" was a Japanese colloquial term for Takeshima derived from "Liancourt Islands," the Western name given to Takeshima. At that time, Utsuryo Island came to be called “Matsushima” in addition to “Takeshima” and current Takeshima came to be called to “Lyanko Islands” in addition to “Matsushima” due to charting errors by European explorers.
Having received the request from Nakai, the Government of Japan, hearing opinions from Shimane Prefecture, confirmed that there is no problem in bringing Takeshima under the jurisdiction of the Okinoshima branch and that "Takeshima" is the appropriate name for the island. With this confirmation, the Government, in January 1905, through a Cabinet decision, stipulated that the islands came under the jurisdiction of the Okinoshima branch of Shimane Prefectural Government, and that the island were officially named as "Takeshima." This decision was conveyed to the Governor of Shimane Prefecture by the Minister for Home Affairs. With this Cabinet Decision, Japan reaffirmed its intention to claim sovereignty over Takeshima.
Based on the Cabinet Decision and the Ministerial Instruction from the Minister for Home Affairs, the Governor of Shimane Prefecture published in February 1905 that Takeshima was officially named as "Takeshima" and that it came under the jurisdiction of the Okinoshima branch. He also informed the Okinoshima branch to this effect. These measures were carried in the newspapers of the day and were broadly publicized.
Based on the Cabinet Decision stipulating that Takeshima came under the jurisdiction of the Okinoshima branch of Shimane Prefectual Government, the governor registered Takeshima into the State Land Register, and established a license system for sea lion hunting. The hunting of sea lions continued from then until 1941.
In Korea, it is said that records exist that according to the stipulations of Imperial Ordinance No. 41 of 1900, not only was the name Utsuryo Island to be changed to Utsu Island (pronounced Uldo in Korean), but that the monitoring of the island would be henceforth undertaken by a county magistrate. Some researchers point out that this ordinance stipulates that the region under the jurisdiction of Utsuryo County included "all of Ulleungdo (Utsuryo Island), Jukdo (Takeshima) and Seokdo (Ishijima)," (the names of the islands are written in Chinese characters (ideogram)) and that, while this "Jukdo" refers to a small island called "Chikusho" adjacent to Utsuryo Island, "Seokdo" (literally meaning “stone island”) actually corresponds to the current "Dokdo." According to the researchers, , Seokdo ( 石島) turned to Dokdo (独島) (literally meaning lone island) because they are phonetically interchangeable in a Korean dialect despite the fact that they do not share the same ideograms.
If it were, however, the case that "Seokdo" corresponds to the current Takeshima ("Dokdo"), there would be doubts as to why the Imperial Ordinance of 1900 did not use "Dokdo" in the text, why the name "Usan Island," which the ROK claims to be the former name of Takeshima, was not used, and when and how the name Dokdo was first used.
Whatever the case, even assuming such doubts will be cleared, there is no evidence that Korea had ever exercised effective control over Takeshima around the time of the promulgation of the Imperial Ordinance. Therefore, it is considered that Korea had never established sovereignty over Takeshima.
Point 7. In the drafting process of the Treaty of Peace with Japan, the United States rejected the request by the ROK that Takeshima be added to the relevant article of the Treaty as one of the areas Japan would renounce, claiming that Takeshima had been under the jurisdiction of
The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed in September 1951, stipulates that “Japan, recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all right, title and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and Dagelet."
Upon learning of the content of this part of the Treaty drafted by the United States and the United Kingdom in July 1951, the ROK had You Chan Yang, Korean Ambassador to the United States, send a letter to Dean G. Acheson, the Secretary of State of the United States. In the letter, the Ambassador wrote, "My Government requests that the word ’renounces’ in Paragraph(a), Article Number 2, should be replaced by confirms that it renounced on August 9, 1945, all right, title and claim to Korea and the islands which were part of Korea prior to its annexation by Japan, including the islands Quelpart, Port Hamilton, Dagelet, Dokdo and Parangdo."
In August of the same year, the United States responded to the letter by a letter from Dean Rusk, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs to Ambassador Yang. The content of the response was, "...the United States Government does not feel that the Treaty (San Francisco Peace Treaty) should adopt the theory that Japan's acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration on August 9, 1945 constituted a formal or final renunciation of sovereignty by Japan over the areas dealt with in the Declaration. As regards the island of Dokdo, otherwise known as Takeshima or Liancourt Rocks, this normally uninhabited rock formation was according to our information never treated as part of Korea and, since about 1905, has been under the jurisdiction of the Oki Islands Branch Office of Shimane Prefecture of Japan. The island does not appear ever before to have been claimed by Korea." Based on this correcspondence, it is evident that Takeshima was affirmed as part of the territory of Japan.
The report of Ambassador Van Fleet (refer to point 10) states that "the United States concluded that they (the islands of Takeshima) remained under Japanese sovereignty and the Island was not included among the Islands that Japan released from its ownership under the Peace Treaty. "
Point 8. In 1952, Takeshima was designated as a bombing range for the U.S. Forces stationed in Japan, which shows that Takeshima was treated as part of the territory of Japan.
In July 1950, while Japan was still under Allied occupation, the supreme command for allied Powers designated Takeshima as a bombing range for U.S. Forces by an instruction note (SCAPIN-2160).
In July 1952, given the expressed desire by the U.S. Forces to continue to utilize Takeshima as a training area, the Joint Committee established for the purpose of implementing the Japan-U.S. Administrative Agreement under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty designated Takeshima as a bombing range for the U.S. Forces stationed in Japan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs promptly published this fact through the Official Gazette.
The Japan-U.S. Administrative Agreement stipulated that the Joint Committee shall serve as the means for consultation in determining the facilities and areas in Japan. Therefore, the fact that Takeshima was discussed in the Committee and the fact that the island was designated as an area for use by the U.S. Forces stationed in Japan clearly shows that Takeshima is part of the territory of Japan.
Point 9. The ROK is illegally occupying Takeshima, against which Japan has been consistently making strong protests.
In January 1952, the President of the ROK Syngman Rhee issued a Declaration concerning maritime sovereignty, with which he installed the so-called "Syngman Rhee Line." Installation of this "line" encompassing the islands of Takeshima was a unilateral act in contravention of international law.
In March 1953, the Joint Committee decided to release Takeshima from the designation of a bombing range for the U.S. Forces. It prompted resumption of fishing by Japanese on and around Takeshima, where it was confirmed at the same time that there were also Koreans engaged in fishing. In July of the same year, a Japanese patrol vessel of the Maritime Safety Agency (now the Japan Coast Guard) that demanded Koreans engaged in illegal fishing to leave the vicinity of Takeshima was fired upon by the Korean authorities that were supporting and protecting the Korean fishermen.
In June 1954, the Ministry of Home Affairs of the ROK announced that the ROK Coast Guard had urgently dispatched a permanent battalion on Takeshima. In August of the same year a vessel of the Maritime Safety Agency on patrol in the vicinity of Takeshima was fired on from Takeshima. Through this incident, it was confirmed that the ROK security personnel had been stationed on Takeshima.
Since then,the ROK has kept and keeps, security personnel stationed on Takeshima as well as constructing lodgings, a monitoring facility, a lighthouse, and port and docking facilities.
The occupation of Takeshima by the ROK is an illegal occupation undertaken on absolutely no basis of international law. No measure taken by the ROK during its illegal occupation with regard to Takeshima has any legal justification. This illegal occupation is not acceptable in any way, gien Japan's position on its sovereignty over Takeshima. Japan has been consistently making strong protests against each and every measure taken by the ROK and demanding the withdrawal of the measure.
Point 10. Although Japan proposed to the ROK that the dispute over Takeshima be referred to the International Court of Justice, the ROK rejected this proposal.
Since the installation of the "Syngman Rhee Line" by the ROK, Japan has been repeated protesting against the ROK's actions such as claims of sovereignty over Takeshima, fishing activities around Takeshima, fires against patrol vessels, and the construction of structures on the island. In order to resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner, Japan proposed, with a note verbale, to the ROK that the issue concerning the sovereignty of Takeshima be referred to the International Court of Justice in September 1954. However, the ROK rejected this proposal. In addition, on the occasion of the Foreign Ministerial talks in March 1962, Zentaro Kosaka, then Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, made a proposal to Choi Duk-shin, then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the ROK, to refer the issue to the Court, but this proposal was not accepted by the ROK again. This situation remains the same until now.
The International Court of Justice has jurisdiction over a dispute only when the parties to the dispute have agreed to bring the case to the Court. Accordingly, even if Japan refers the issue to the Court unilaterally, the ROK has no obligation to respond to it, and the Court will not have jurisdiction until the ROK voluntarily accepts it.
According to the report of Ambassador Van Fleet who visited the ROK in 1954, which was made public in 1986, the United States concluded that Takeshima is Japanese territory, and took the position that the dispute might properly be referred to the International Court of Justice. Ambassador Fleet reports that though the United States conveyed this suggestion to the ROK, the ROK argued that “Dokto” was a part of Utsuryo Island.