Tokyo ditched Dokdo, paper says

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Tokyo ditched Dokdo, paper says


A Japanese National Diet House of Representatives record from a judicial affairs committee dated April 13, 1956, describes then Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu as saying President Syngman Rhee’s Peace Line, which places the Dokdo islets in Korean territory, was an act of sovereignty that Tokyo cannot deny. [YUJI HOSAKA]

A Japanese parliamentary document was discovered that disproves its government’s official claim that Korea illegally occupied the Dokdo islets in the East Sea through the Syngman Rhee administration’s “Peace Line” of 1952.

Yuji Hosaka, head of the Dokdo Research Institute at Sejong University, discovered a document sourced to then Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu during a judicial affairs committee of the lower house of the Diet dated April 13, 1956.

This supports the boundary declared by President Rhee in 1952, which places Dokdo and it marine resources within Korean territory.

“Korea exercised its sovereignty as an independent nation,” the parliamentary record quoted Shigemitsu as saying in reference to the so-called Syngman Rhee Line. “Japan cannot deny such acts of sovereignty.”

Hosaka told the JoongAng Sunday the discovery of this document dislodges Japan’s grounds for claiming Rhee illegally included Dokdo, known in Japan as Takeshima, as Korean territory.

Following the end of Japanese colonial rule over Korea from 1910 to 1945, the two countries did not establish diplomatic relations until 1965 with the signing of the Treaty on Basic Relations.

“Previous Japanese governments did not call the Peace Line illegal, but laws made by later governments did, enabling the spread of such retroactive claims, ” the professor pointed out.

On March 18, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced the results of its review of high school textbooks. And some 77 percent of the textbooks mentioned that Dokdo is Japanese sovereign territory or that Korea’s occupation of the islets is illegal.

Korea’s position is that no dispute exists because the islets are Korea’s integral territory historically, geographically and under international law.

Hosaka added, “In 2012, I met with a right-wing politician of the Liberal Democratic Party who was well-informed about the Dokdo issue and asked, ‘When the Korea-Japan Basic Treaty was signed, didn’t the Japanese government essentially give up on Dokdo?’ and the politician responded, ‘We cannot currently follow the decisions made by our seniors at that time,’ recognizing that past governments in reality did give up on Dokdo.”

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