Position of Japan on Takeshima
1st, September 2012
Embassy of Japan in Saudi Arabia
The government of Japan recently published its official position regarding Takeshima island.
[Position of Japan on Takeshima]
- In light of the historical facts and based upon international law, Takeshima is an integral and inherent part of Japanese territory. There exists a territorial dispute over Takeshima with the Republic of Korea (ROK), and recently President Lee illegally set foot on Takeshima. The position of Japan is that we should settle the territorial dispute in a calm, fair and peaceful way based on international law.
- Based on the above-mentioned idea, on August 21, Japan officially presented the ROK with a diplomatic proposal to institute proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by a special agreement between the two countries and proposed about conciliation based on the “Exchange of Notes constituting an agreement between the two countries concerning the settlement of disputes” on the dispute over the sovereignty of Takeshima to settle it in a calm, fair and peaceful way based on international law.
- The ROK is an important member of the global community and supports the rule of law throughout international society through its activities in the United Nations and other international organizations. Additionally the ROK has been positioning itself under the catch phrase of “Global Korea.” In this light, Japan believes that the ROK should fairly and unequivocally accept Japan’s proposal, if it truly believes in its claim to the islands.
- The best way to deal with an international dispute is, in light of “law and justice” of the international community, to argue before the ICJ and bring it to a conclusion. The Government of Japan will continue to strenuously make the case to the ROK that settling this dispute based on international law stands to reason.
- While Japan has made efforts recently in establishing a forward-looking relationship with the ROK at a variety of levels, President Lee illegally set foot on Takeshima on August 10, which clearly marred our mutual ties. Japan hopes that the ROK will sincerely respond to Japan’s good faith.
- President Lee’s action has once again placed the spotlight on the sovereignty issue over the islands. However, the islands are clearly an integral and inherent part of Japan’s territory under international law, which is supported by historical facts.
- Multiple historical documents confirm that Japan established its sovereignty over Takeshima at least by the mid 17th century. On the other hand, there is no evidence that Korea had control over Takeshima before the establishment of Japan’s territorial sovereignty. For example, the ROK claims that Usan Island, which is described in old Korean texts such as “Sinjeung Dong Yeoji Seungnam (A Revised Edition of the Augmented Survey of the Geography of Korea: 1531),” is Takeshima of today. However, in the map of “Sinjeung Dong Yeoji Seungnam (A Revised Edition of the Augmented Survey of the Geography of Korea)” <Attachment>, Usan Island is located west of Utsuryo Island. But, actually Takeshima is located east of Utsuryo Island. This clearly shows that Usan Island is not Takeshima of today.
- In January 1905, our government made a Cabinet decision to incorporate Takeshima into Shimane Prefecture, reaffirming Japan’s intention to claim sovereignty over Takeshima. Later, upon the drafting of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, the ROK submitted to the US a request to include Takeshima among the territories Japan should renounce. The US declined this request, thereby expressing its position that Takeshima is an integral territory of Japan. This position is further verified by the fact that Takeshima was later designated as a bombing range for US Forces in Japan in 1952 by a bilateral agreement under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
- In light of the historical facts and based upon international law, Takeshima is an integral and inherent part of Japanese territory. However, in 1952, the ROK unilaterally proclaimed an artificial boundary encompassing Takeshima (which it called the “Syngman Rhee Line”）in clear contravention of international law, and the ROK has been illegally occupying Takeshima until today. During the 13 years after the “Syngman Rhee Line” was installed up until it was abolished by the conclusion of the Japan-ROK fisheries agreement, many Japanese fishing boats were seized and many Japanese fishing people were detained, causing heavy casualties.
- Although Japan proposed to the ROK that the issue concerning the sovereignty of Takeshima be referred to the ICJ in 1954 and 1962, the ROK rejected both proposals. In a similar vein, on August 17, Japanese Prime Minister Noda sent a letter to President Lee concerning the issue of Takeshima. However, the ROK side did not receive it because it contained the word of “Takeshima,” and returned it, which should not have been done according to the diplomatic practice. It is an ordinary reaction to fairly and unequivocally state the assertions of the ROK side in the form of a reply if there is any content that the ROK side cannot accept in the letter. Thus, the fact that the ROK has refused the referral of the case to the ICJ twice as well as the fact that the ROK returned the letter between the leaders of the states because it contained the word of “Takeshima” indicate that the ROK does not have confidence in the sovereignty of Takeshima.
(For more details regarding facts and Japan’s position, please refer to the following web site: http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/takeshima/ ) -End-