It is a pretty good article, but it oversimplifies the answer to the question, "What about the history?" It fails, for example, to mention that while Japan has numerous maps and documents to support her claim to Liancourt Rocks (Takeshima/Japan), Korea has none to support hers.
Also, how can Korea claim the Rocks were "taken by force" in 1905 when the Rocks had never been part of Korean territory or even had Koreans living on them? In fact, the only way Koreans could get to the Rocks at the time were as deckhands on Japanese fishing boats.
The Asahi Shimbun
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's surprise visit to the disputed Takeshima islets on Aug. 10 sent relations with Japan into a tailspin.
Staff Writer Toru Higashioka attempts to put the issue in perspective in the following question-and-answer format:
Question: What was the Japanese government's reaction to Lee's visit?
Answer: Both Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba lodged strong protests.
Q: What is the Japan's position with regard to the islets, which are called Dokdo in Korean?
A: While South Korea claims the islets, Tokyo maintains they are Japan's sovereign territory, both historically and under international law. It also maintains that South Korea is illegally occupying them.
Q: What is at issue right now?
A: Lee's visit to Takeshima was an affront to Japan. Here was the leader of a country landing on territory it illegally occupies. His visit was completely unacceptable for the Japanese government.
Q: Why does Japan maintain that South Korea is illegally occupying the islets?
A: The 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty stipulates all territory that Japan should renounce all rights, titles and claims to. But it does not include Takeshima. Then in January 1952, South Korean President Rhee Syngman one-sidedly declared the Rhee Syngman Line, or boundary, on the open sea, putting Takeshima on the South Korean side. South Korea went ahead and stationed security forces on the islets, effectively placing them under its control.
Q: What about history?
A: Japan claims it established sovereignty of the islets early in the Edo Period (1603-1867). Takeshima was incorporated into Shimane Prefecture based on a Cabinet decision in 1905. That same year, Japan declared that Korea no longer has diplomatic sovereignty as it moved to annex the Korean Peninsula in 1910. This is why South Koreans regard the islets as having been "taken by force." As a result, the issue has stirred up patriotism and anti-Japan sentiment among South Koreans.
Q: How has Japan coped with the problem?
A: In 1954 and 1962, Japan proposed to South Korea that the dispute over sovereignty be referred to the International Court of Justice. But South Korea rejected the idea. So far, Japan has refrained from taking the matter to the court out of consideration for its peaceful relationship with South Korea. Past attempts by Japan to resolve the issue in the ICJ were met with strong opposition from Seoul.
Q: In spite of all this, Lee went ahead with the visit, didn't he?
A: Genba said Japan no longer needs to give South Korea's stance on the issue any consideration and can go ahead with filing a suit with the ICJ.
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN