Japan Expected to Reassert Claim Over Dokdo Islets This Week

D-bo, April 6, 2015, 8:05 a.m.

Japan is expected to reassert its colonial claim to Korea’s Dokdo islets this week, which could keep bilateral relations in the deep freeze for some time.  Local media on Sunday quoted a government official here as saying Tokyo will repeat the claim in a diplomatic report and annual review of textbooks due out this week. 

The official said Korea will respond firmly to any provocations from Japan over the islets.  Korea reclaimed sovereignty over Dokdo after independence from Japan in 1945.  Dokdo are a group of small islets in the Sea of Japan. While South Korea controls the islets, its sovereignty over them is contested by Japan. South Korea classifies the islets as Dokdo-ri, Ulleung-eup, Ulleung County, North Gyeongsang Province. Japan classifies them as part of Okinoshima, Oki District, Shimane Prefecture.

The Franco-English name of the islets derives from Le Liancourt, the name of a French whaling ship which came close to being wrecked on the rocks in 1849.  The Liancourt Rocks consist of two main islets and 35 smaller rocks; the total surface area of the islets is 0.18745 square kilometres (46.32 acres), with the highest elevation of 169 metres (554 ft) found at an unnamed location on the West Islet. The Liancourt Rocks lie in rich fishing grounds which may contain large deposits of natural gas.

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