Vote highlights Japan-S. Korea dispute over islands

[JURIST] An ongoing diplomatic dispute between Japan [government website] and South Korea [government website] was taken to another level of intensity Wednesday, after a local Japanese prefecture approved a largely symbolic resolution calling for the creation of "Takeshima Day" to "celebrate Tokyo's claim of sovereignty" over the Dokdo volcanic islets [South Korea Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries factsheet], named in Japanese Takeshima [pro-Japanese claim website]. Japan's national government said that the vote by the Shimane Prefectural Assembly was outside the control of government officials and would have no influence on Tokyo policy towards the islets. The chunks of volcanic rock are the center of a long-standing dispute between the two nations, as both claim historical sovereignty over the territiory. The waters surrounding the islets are unusually rich fishing grounds. South Korea has held titular claim to the territory since it established a police detachment on the otherwise uninhabited land. South Korea has demanded that the Shimane prefecture [official website] withdraw the resolution and warned that any consequences would be the fault of Japan. The dispute takes place against a background of strained relations between the two countries, the legacy of Japan's occupation of Korea between the end of the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 and the surrender of Japan in 1945 at the end of World War II. A late report from South Korea Wednesday said that the country's ruling and opposition parties have agreed to convene a 30-day extra session of the National Assembly from April 6 to deal with the Dokto issue, and "Japan's attempts to distort history and harm Korea's territorial integrity." View South Korea's website on the Dokdo issue [official website]. Read the South Korea official press release responding to the Japanese vote. South Korea's Chosun Ilbo has local coverage.

 

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