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Lawmaker moves legal place of origin to Dokdo

An opposition lawmaker has recently changed her family’s permanent address of origin to Dokdo in protest against Japan’s sovereignty claim over the rocky islets in the East Sea.

Rep. Park Sun-young, the spokeswoman for the Liberty Forward Party, said Sunday that her family transferred their domicile from Gyeonggi Province to Dokdo on Feb. 22.

It was the first time for a lawmaker to have their family register in the disputed islets, with about 1,000 Koreans believed to be legally domiciled there.

Park said that she made the decision together with her husband Min Il-young, a justice at the Supreme Court, considering the possibility that a new Japanese middle-school textbook, planned to be published in April, could cover the Dokdo sovereignty issue.
Rep. Park Sun-young
Rep. Park Sun-young

She is a former law professor and currently a member of the parliamentary Unification and Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Japanese government, which proclaimed its sovereignty over Dokdo through textbook guidelines for teachers in 2008, has taken a stronger attitude toward the issue in recent years, Park added.

“It is likely that Japan would rekindle a territory dispute with Korea, whose national power is considered weaker than China and Russia,” she said in an interview.

“It would be great if I could help strengthen our people’s will of protecting Dokdo.”

She also expressed disappointment with the Lee Myung-bak government’s lukewarm response to Japan’s territorial claims.

Last year she disclosed a 1945 map in which the allied forces during World War II marked Dokdo as belonging to Korea.

Earlier in 2009, she revealed to the public a Japanese government document apparently drawn up after Japan’s defeat in World War II, which categorized Dokdo as foreign territory.

Park’s decision comes days after reports that a growing number of Japanese nationals are changing their place of family register to Dokdo and other disputed territories.

Kyoto News Agency of Japan said on Feb. 20 that about 520 Japanese people have been domiciled in the disputed islands, including 69 in Dokdo, which is known as “Takeshima” in Japan.

Japan has engaged in territorial disputes with neighboring countries other than Korea over Dokdo. It is currently locked with Russia and China about the sovereignty over the Kuril Islands and the Senkaku Islands, respectively.

By Lee Ji-yoon (