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Korean, Japanese scholars join to denounce Japan over Dokdo claims

By Korea Herald

Published : Feb. 25, 2013 - 20:09

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A Japanese scholar on Monday criticized the Japanese government for “scheming occupation of the Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo while still denying historical responsibility for its colonial rule (1910-1945).”

Aligned with Korean historians here on March 1 for a press conference at Chondogyo Suunhoegwan in downtown Seoul, scholars from both countries will present historical documents supporting Korea’s sovereignty over the much-disputed rocky islets.

On Monday, Park Sung-soo, honorary professor of the Academy of Korean Studies, said that Sato Seilin, the leader of an academic group on modern and contemporary history in Nankaido, Japan, will join Korean academics’ protest against the Japanese government over its continuous attempts to claim Dokdo as its territory. Sato has secured an 1877 Japanese government directive that reads, “Jukdo (Japanese name for Ulleungdo Island in North Gyeongsang Province) and another islets nearby have nothing to do with Japan.” The other islets evidently refer to Dokdo, confirming that the Japanese government has been largely ignoring the islets until very recently, Sato said.

In 1905, the Japanese government named the islets as Takeshima, called Dokdo in Korea, and annexed them to the Japanese territory. Even after Korea’s liberation in 1945, the Japanese government has continued to claim its right over the land.

“The Japanese administration’s claim over Takeshima is a scheme to occupy the islets,” Sato wrote in his work titled “I oppose Japan’s reoccupation of Dokdo,” scheduled to be released on March 1.

Park will show Japanese maps from 1836 and 1879, disclosed previously, that suggest that the Japanese authorities acknowledged Dokdo to be a foreign territory.

“In the map, Ulleung Island and Dokdo are colored differently from the Japanese territory, which shows that Dokdo was clearly not a part of Japan, but Korea,” Park told The Korea Herald.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)