Fact Sheet: Position of Japan on Takeshima


Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan



 [Historical Facts]

  • Multiple historical documents confirm that Japan had established its sovereignty over Takeshima by the mid 17th century at the latest. Furthermore, there is no counterevidence to support the ROK’s claims that Korea had control over Takeshima prior to  Japan’s establishment of territorial sovereignty. For example, the ROK claims that Usan Island which is described in historical Korean texts (such as Sinjeung Dong Yeoji Seungnam - A Revised Edition of the Augmented Survey of the Geography of Korea: 1531 ) is modern-day Takeshima . However, in the maps of Sinjeung Dong Yeoji Seungnam - A Revised Edition of the Augmented Survey of the Geography of Korea (see ‘Attachment ’ ), Usan Island is located west of Utsuryo Island. In reality, Takeshima is located east of Utsuryo Island. This clearly shows that Usan Island is not modern-day Takeshima .
  • In January 1905, the Japanese government made a Cabinet decision to incorporate Takeshima into Shimane Prefecture, reaffirming Japan’s claim of sovereignty over Takeshima. Later, on the drafting of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, the ROK submitted a request to the US 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. The US position was further verified in 1952 by a bilateral agreement under the Japan-US Security Treaty which designated Takeshima as a bombing range for US Forces .
  • 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 ( the “Syngman Rhee Line”), and declared “marine sovereignty” over the waters inside that line. This act was in clear contravention of international law at that time (Note). The line encompassed Takeshima inside, and the ROK began illegally occupying Takeshima by force. During the 13 years period of the “Syngman Rhee Line,” which was formally abolished in 1965 with the Japan-ROK Fisheries Agreement, many Japanese fishing boats were seized and many Japanese fishermen were detained, resulting in heavy casualties.

(Note) The “Syngman Rhee Line” was drawn over the high seas and the ROK declared that it would be a zone of control and protection of national resources which would be placed under the sovereignty of the ROK. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which introduced the notion of the jurisdiction of a coastal nation over the 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, was adopted in 1982, and went into effect in 1994.

  • Although Japan proposed to the ROK that the issue concerning the sovereignty of Takeshima be referred to the ICJ in 1954, 1962 and 2012, the ROK rejected those proposals. On August 17, 2012, Japanese Prime Minister Noda sent a letter to President Lee regarding the issue of Takeshima. However, the ROK side did not accept the letter and returned it because it contained the word of “Takeshima.” This should not have been done according to the diplomatic practice. It would be customary to fairly and unequivocally state the assertions of the ROK in the form of a reply, in response to  any content that the ROK does not accept in the letter. T he fact that the ROK has repeatedly refused to allow the case to be referred to the ICJ, as well as the fact that the ROK returned the letter between the leaders of state , indicates that the ROK does not have confidence in its claims of sovereignty over Takeshima.


(For further details of Japan’s position on Takeshima, please refer to the following web site:  http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/takeshima/ )