Go to contents

Trying to Steal Dokdo?

Posted February. 22, 2005 22:52,   


Japan’s Shimane Prefecture’s Assembly set February 22 as “Takeshima (Dokdo’s Japanese name) Day” and decided to enact a legal bill and present it to the Assembly tomorrow.

It is expected to have a negative influence on Korea-Japan diplomatic relations as the Japanese government is sitting idle regarding Shimane Prefecture’s move, saying, “It is difficult for the central government to intervene because it is a work at the regional assembly level.

February 22 is the day Shimane Prefecture incorporated Dokdo into Okinoshima of Oki-gun, Shimane Prefecture in 1905 through gazette number 40, and it is the 100th year.

According to the “Representative Submission Bill Number One, Law (Bill) Deciding Takeshima Day” that the newspaper exclusively acquired yesterday, the bill consists of three articles. The articles mention: the intent of the law, setting February 22 as “Takeshima Day,” and urging the prefecture to come up with necessary measures, respectively.

The legal bill will be presented to the assembly this morning in the form of a joint presentation of 35 representatives, including all 30 Liberal Democrats out of 38 prefecture representatives. The bill is expected to be voted on in mid-March and promulgated since everyone except two Democrats and one Communist Party representative agrees on the bill.

The first article manifests the intent of the law to develop it into a pan-national campaign: “The law intends that cities, towns, villages and the prefecture should act as one to promote a campaign to recover Japan’s dominium over “Takeshima” soon, and develop a national consensus concerning the Takeshima issue.”

In the statement of reasons, the representatives asserted, “Takeshima is Japanese soil, which belongs to Shimane Prefecture according to history and international law, but Korea is strengthening its movement for effective control by continuing its illegal occupation for half a century, establishing a docking system, and reviewing legislation to designate it as a national park.

In addition, it stated that it is founding Takeshima Day at the prefecture level because the Japanese government ignored the assembly’s urging to make it law.

Shimane Prefecture produced an advertisement asserting that Dokdo belongs to Japan, and it is shown once a week via the region’s three private TV channels since this month, and it is also planning a Dokdo photograph exhibition in March.

Furthermore, the prefecture has been continuously making an issue of Dokdo starting this year by, for example, making and distributing pamphlets to citizens together with a private organization, saying, “Return the island and sea of Takeshima.”

By reporting that a Japanese fisherman, who was fishing across the “Rhee Syng-man Line” in February 1953, was shot dead and that enraged 30 Japanese including police officers landed on Dockdo in June and ousted six Korean fishermen, the Chugoku Daily, Shimane’s regional paper, created such an atmosphere.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com