politics

Shimane stages annual rally over disputed islands with S Korea

32 Comments

An annual rally was held on Sunday marking Japan's claim to a set of tiny islands controlled by South Korea, further fueling a long-standing territorial row between the neighbors.

Some 500 people gathered at the event in Shimane Prefecture in western Japan, including Yohei Matsumoto, a Cabinet Office parliamentary secretary, local and national politicians, organizers said.

Tokyo refers to the islands in the Sea of Japan (known as East Sea in South Korea) as Takeshima, while they are known as Dokdo in South Korea. The Shimane prefectural government claims that the islands are under its jurisdiction.

The local government designated Feb 22 as "Takeshima Day" in 2005 to mark the 1905 incorporation of the islands, and has since organized an annual ceremony to commemorate the day.

Some 100 South Koreans, who have moved their home addresses to Dokdo, urged Japan to scrap "Takeshima Day" and stop attempts to encroach upon South Korea's territory.

Relations between the two countries have regularly been strained by the territorial dispute and other issues arising from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean peninsula.

Tensions were further strained in 2012 following a surprise visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak to the island chain.

Tokyo is embroiled in separate territorial spats with China and Russia.

© Japan Today/AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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Dokdo belongs to South Korea, plain and simple. They live on it, and have administered it for a long time, and time is definitely on their side. The little right-wing protests here don't mean a thing, especially when one of their main arguments for possession of the Senkaku islands is that Japan administers them. All those people who protest are the same ones who demand South Korea and China 'move on' when it comes to history, but when the shoe is on the other foot?

5 ( +23 / -18 )

So far this is the best Dokdo/Takeshima research website with maps, archives and books. Detailed and accurate English/Japanese/Korean translation by volunteers, too.

http://dokdo-or-takeshima.blogspot.com

2 ( +4 / -2 )

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Of all the things that matter in this world, the ownership of these tiny rocks in the sea must rank about 3rd from bottom..

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I say just let them have their fun, letting off steam or whatever. It is the same in Hokkaido with all these 'Give us back the northern territories' signs. The fact is, short of invading Dokdo or the Southern Kurils and starting a war, they are not going to get anything. They've got the other islands thanks to the invasion of Ryukyu, so be happy with what you have. And advice to the Koreans - stop wasting your time, you've got Dokdo already.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Yep, that ship has sailed. By allowing the Koreans to build on and then occupy the islands Japan knows it no longer has a realistic chance of entitlement, whether it has legitimate territorial claims or not. Maybe Japan should now count its losses and make a diplomatic trade off, to save some face, by getting Korea to drop its ridiculous idea that the Sea of Japan be named the East Sea. East of where? Not here. If Japan didn't exist (wishful thinking for some) it'd be the Pacific Ocean. It's just more silly Korean nationalism. That won't happen of course. Too much commonsense involved.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Just about everything smithinjapan says in his comment above is wrong and very prejudiced. Just take one instance, he says, "They live on it...." But no one is actually living there except some Korean troops stationed there. South Korea sent them in 1954, at a time when Japan was still in the post-war confusion.

"All those people who protest are the same ones who demand South Korea and China 'move on' when it comes to history, but when the shoe is on the other foot?"

The above comment is beyond wrong and prejudiced. It is ridiculous and even laughable.

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

South Korea sent them in 1954, at a time when Japan was still in the post-war confusion. So, Japan was 1954 still in post-war confusion while Korea has been occupied until 1945, and at war from 1950-1953 and was perfectly fine? The Dokdos were seized by Japan and technically they should have given back to Korea as signed in the San Francisco Treaty. But as in so many conflicts, the U.S. f**** things up: "[In 1949] Siebold, a political advisor stationed in Japan [..] suggested [..] Takeshima be incorporated into Japan. He argued that a weather and radar facility should be installed there in consideration of the security situation.” The above mentioned security situation is nothing less than the struggle which led to the Korea war and in the long run to the Cold War. The islands are Korean territory by international law, but since the U.S. simply broke these laws, nowadays Japanese right-wingers claim the islands their own. That's it. Yoshimi Onishi: Please do some research other than Yomiuri Shinbun -.- I recommend articles of NAITÔ Seichû 内藤正中 or MATSUMOTO Takeo 松本武夫 in "A Fresh Look at the Dokdo Issue. Japanese Scholars Review Historical Facts", 2006.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@Yoshimi Onishi

I call the two islands "Liancourt Rocks" and do not have a position. If Japan was still in post-war confusion in 1954 after Japan's war ended in 1945, then is it not the case that Korea had a more immediate post-war situation when mass conflict ended in 1953? There are actually two permanent civilian residents, subsidized to be sure, but real residents nevertheless. Also, the Koreans have done an outstanding ecological survey of the islands, and a nice presentation can be seen at the Dokdo Museum in Seoul, which even though it sides with the Korea position does present the Japan case.

Having been many times to Shimane (my wife's family originates in part from there), I can attest that is one of the most hollowed out prefectures in Japan, with rapidly aging people mostly living without the presence of many younger people. I find it laughable to think many Shimane folks want to move to the Liancourt Rocks, and Takeshima is mainly a cause for Japanese nationalists with little regard to this reality.

Every year in the tenth lunar month, all of the Japanese gods gather at the Izumo Taisha in Shimane during the kamiarizuki 神在月, the month when the gods are present -- during the time when the rest of the country has no gods present 神無月. Perhaps the nationalists can persuade one to take a side-trip to Liancourt Rocks.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Auhhh, occupation through force is never accepted by the world especially by the UN. Japan is not showing force because of Article 9 or the Koreans would have been kicked out a long time ago.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

@yoshimi The comments by smith are accurate indeed. Japan is in the courtroom of world opinion on various historical controversial issues. Claiming of islands, sovereignty etc. etc. included. So when the time comes & if the shoe fits "wear it".

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

All Nations recognized them as the property of Japan. Korea snuck folks on there and Japan was being peaceful by not blowing them of the planet. Sorry, but Korea, China and Russia are losers

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Fruit of the crime, spoils of war- whatever you call it. The former Japanese colony has reclaimed its own through force immediately after WW2. The tables have been turned on this topic. The islands belong to Korea, if the shoe fits WEAR IT already.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What! Koreans and Japanese are still arguing about these rocks that have some fish swimming around them?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm neutral in this but the adage "possession is nine tenths of the law" does bear considerable weight in territorial disputes, particularly the longer they drag on. Just look at the Kuril islands. The state that has actual custodial control over the disputed territory is more likely to retain it, especially when their claims have legitimacy. Korea knew this and took action. Japan dropped the ball by not doing enough to prevent Korea building structures on the islands, including dwellings, desalination plants, docks and even mobile phone towers. Sorry Japan but the horse has bolted.

@SamuraiBlue

occupation through force is never accepted by the world especially by the UN

No, it's not but that's irrelevant. These islands were unoccupied and not forcibly annexed. Korea claims that they have simply established a settlement on their own territory. Japan has to now prove legally through the (toothless) ICJ that without question the islands are theirs solely. Korea has refused requests by Japan for a joint ICJ case to be heard purely because they actually govern the islands and don't recognise that there is a dispute, much like Japan with the Senkakus. So unless Japan resorts to force, which is highly unlikely, it would appear as though Korea's de facto control is permanent.

Japan is not showing force because of Article 9 or the Koreans would have been kicked out a long time ago.

If you're implying Korea's military would be a pushover that's pretty ignorant. In any case, if Article 9 doesn't prohibit Japan from forcibly defending it's own territory, what's stopping them? Let's hope we never find out.

@ Jerry Alan Carroll

All Nations recognized them as the property of Japan.

That's not the case at all. Do some research. Both countries have valid claims and to keep neutrality they're internationally recognized as the Liancourt Rocks.

Korea snuck folks on there and Japan was being peaceful by not blowing them of the planet. Sorry, but Korea, China and Russia are losers

Sounds like you're in the Team Japan cheer squad. Yes, Korea snuck people on there because they were cleverer, or more cunning if you prefer. Japan were asleep and now it's too late. I'm not sure how people here have garnered the idea that Japan would wipe Korea militarily. It shows a real lack of knowledge. In any case, if Japan cannot control territories that it claims are theirs, unfairly or not, it would appear as though they are the losers. Japan, Korea, China and Russia are all intransigent provocateurs.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan should station some SDF forces there with the equal amount of personnel as the SKoreans.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I was going to comment but @banz10 took all of my material. Spot on. Regardless of who these land masses (islands, rock formations, or whatever you want to call) actually belong to, the situation is as it stands. Undoubtedly both sides can continue to press their claims and defend their positions, but, in substance, nothing will change, rightly or wrongly.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

But no one is actually living there except some Korean troops stationed there

Wrong. There are no Korean troops stationed there. There's a small squadron of coast guards, protecting two residents who are fishermen. They also get boatloads of visitors daily from the mainland who are curious about the island. If Japan ever attacks this island, they could possibly cause a massive civilian casualty which will lead to a general war between S.Korea and Japan.

Japan is in the courtroom of world opinion on various historical controversial issues.

I highly doubt that. Nobody outside of Japan and Korea cares about this island. But most of the world is probably highly suspicious about Japan's 'historic claims' in light of the fact, how Japan is trying to beautify and whitewash its WWII records (which by the way has everything to do with this island that was taken by Japan when it invaded and colonized Korea).

Japan is not showing force because of Article 9

Article 9 does not stop Japan from defending its territory under attack. The very act of Japan not acting to protecting its supposed territory when it came under 'attack' in 1953 by South Korea (which thought it was their territory so therefore they attacked to defend their territory), tells me Japan didn't believe it was their territory.

It's been 62 years since South Korea took over the island. The possession of the island has been so long, Japan's claim is treated as Irredentism (definition: nationalist beliefs that a territory belonging to another country should be annexed for ethnic or historical reasons). Koreans have also irredentism claims in parts of China and Russia which were given away by colonial Japan during the early 1900's, and there are some Korean nationalists who say Koreans should take them back. But nobody takes these old claims based on irredentism as realistic nor feasible, and these nationalists are generally dismissed as day dreamers. Japan's claims on "Kurile" and "Takeshima" islands also belong in this category.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

@ bjohnson23

Japan should station some SDF forces there with the equal amount of personnel as the SKoreans.

Great idea. What's your strategy? I reckon the JSDF should sneak in one foggy night, build barracks, desalination plants, a dock and an administration building on the other side of the jagged rocky outcrop to the Koreans. Oh yeah, and don't forget to put up a really big flag pole so when the Korean coast guard wakes up they'll be totally surprised.

@zones2surf

sorry

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"We have a legitimate dispute with Korea over Takeshima". "We have a legitimate dispute with Russia over the Northern Territories" "Senkaku is undisputed".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

ThePBot> When two countries both claim an island it is a dispute. Senkaku is the MOST disputed of the three examples you gave in terms the potential of war starting. Or is this semantics?

Japan needs to move on and not live in the past. Russia will not return the islands and neither will Korea. In this way Japan is much like China and understands how it feels to have islands taken away from her.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

""All those people who protest are the same ones who demand South Korea and China 'move on' when it comes to history, but when the shoe is on the other foot?"

The above comment is beyond wrong and prejudiced. It is ridiculous and even laughable."

No, actually smith is spot on. It is only considered ridiculous by those he singled out. Truth hurts I guess.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I don't know which side is more childish.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I was a bit surprised I got quite a few negative responses for my comment. I'd like to make just one thing clear about this issue. Some of the comments suggest or say that the people who claim these islands belong to Japan are all right-wingers. This is absolutely off the mark. If you care to read just a few of my past comments and still call me a right-winger, then you will have to say that just about everyone in this country is a right-winger.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

""Sorry, but Korea, China and Russia are losers"

Funny thing to say when the Japanese nationalist are the ones jumping up and down about "loosing" Dokdo and Kuriles.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Yoshimi Onishi

...the people who claim these islands belong to Japan are all right-wingers. This is absolutely off the mark.

Well maybe not ALL are but the main proponents on both sides are clearly right-wing nationalists. It's not about the islands themselves, they're unlivable. It's not even really about the surrounding rich fishing grounds. It's about national pride and sovereignty. The hundreds of Korean tourists who go to these barren, rocky islets on ferries aren't interested in sightseeing. There's nothing for them to do or see there. It's often foggy, very windy and they have to dodge seagull droppings. No, they go there waving their flags and chant nationalist slogans and that's exactly what these people in Shimane would do if Japan were the custodians.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Rusk_note_of_1951

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.

For the Secretary of State: Dean Rusk

smithinjapanFeb. 22, 2015 - 03:36PM JST

Dokdo belongs to South Korea, plain and simple. They live on it, and have administered it for a long time,

Koreans started to live there only half a century after Japan incorporated the island. The first person who claimed a property becomes the owner. The second person becomes a thief.

MountBladeFeb. 22, 2015 - 05:55PM JST

"Usando" was Korea's old name for "Dokdo" , but "Usando"is not "Takeshima"

Old Korean documents say "Usando" is "Ulleungdo", which is 87 km away from Takeshima/Dogdo.

Andi WandFeb. 22, 2015 - 07:28PM JST

South Korea sent them in 1954, at a time when Japan was still in the post-war confusion.

And Japan immediately filed a complaint at ICJ in the same year. That made South Korea forever an offending party in records.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@MountBlade

Nice video! Thanks!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H91QN6ho8jU

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They live on it

I can put up a tent in the forest. Doesn't mean I own the forest so your "logic" fails right there.

Also you've, (not surprisingly given your past failures to grasp even fundamental concepts), overlooked the fact that there's no way the islands can sustain human habitation naturally. Hence nobody living there until "they" illegally set up a base, that has to be constantly resupplied. Hardly proof of a long and continued association with the islands.

have administered it for a long time,

You mean "put people with guns" on it. Your interpretation of the word "administer" is an interesting one. And incorrect.

They are squatters and thieves. But then again, South Korea also claimed Socotra Rock which is completely underwater, also arbitrarily.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socotra_Rock#Dispute

Funny how their good friends, the CCP, do a 180 degree about-turn. International misfits. Only the existence and proximity of North Korea make them look slightly less crazy.

@Yoshimi Onishi

A lot of posters here are either insincere or uninformed. Even though the right-wing is a minority, they want to delude themselves and others that all Japanese are the same. It's just as silly in believing all foreigners are the same. Both ways of thinking are complete nonsense.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The local government designated Feb 22 as “Takeshima Day” in 2005 to mark the 1905 incorporation of the islands, and has since organized an annual ceremony to commemorate the day.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

If it was Korean island until 1905, just like all Korean properties it was Korean, Just because Japan stole the island in 1905 does not mean it belongs to Shimane ken. Shimane ken's logic is just like Yamaguchi ken claims Shimane ken belongs to Yamaguchi ken. It used to be terrirory of lord Mouri. until Shogunate changed Lord Mouri;s territory in current Yamaguchi ken only.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Completely different origins, but this dispute is so similar to that of the northern territories, in that one of the contending parties is actually in possession of the said islands, ie they have citizens living there and the state controls and monitors the sites.

In such a case, it will be impossible for Japan to reclaim sovereignty by any peaceful means, as the current govt of Korea and any future administrations have far too much to lose domestically. A return would be suicidal and possibly put related members and officials in deadly situations.

And I am for one assuming there is no way a military solution is being entertained, which leaves the existing state to remain as it is.

I'm not arguing who has the best historical proof, maps, records etc, right or wrong, I'm just saying there's no way Korea will give Takeshima to Japan.

The only very weak chance for change, is for a pact of shared administration to be created, but I doubt that will happen for the above mentioned reasons.

World History- from ancient to modern - is littered with territorial disputes with winners & losers. This is no different and in this case Korea is the winner and Japan is the loser. And no amount of crying is going to change that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In Japanese history, Japan was quite efficient in annexing other countries of island. Logic? If Mongolia tried to capture Japan many years ago, why not Japan. Okinawa by Kagoshima;s lord Shimazu. Hokkaidp from Ainu people. Later, methods changed. Japanese Govt gave Gift of princess Nashimoto no miya masako to Korean prince after Japan stole (we did not say colonized) Korea, For Chinam Japan presented a noble lady to brother of Manchuria Emperor Aishin kaura Eisei, Ja[an was profittable. One lady to get huge land.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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