Japan annually commemorates the “Day of Takeshima”, claiming Tok Islets belong to it although they are an inalienable part of Korea.
The Japanese maintain the dominium is based on a document called “Shimane Prefectural Proclamation No. 40”.
The Japanese prefecture issued the notice on February 22 1905 on the premise that the islets were ownerless to unilaterally annex them.
However, the announcement is unlawful out and out.
The Meiji government of Japan which decided to seize the islets had officially recognized Korea’s dominium over Ullung Island and Tok Islets by issuing a cabinet directive in 1877. And both the government and public acknowledged that the islets belonged to the Korean territory at the time of “incorporation”.
What is crucially important is that Nakai who petitioned for the “incorporation of the territory” believed that the islets belonged to Korea.
He petitioned the Japanese government to negotiate with the Korean counterpart on the exclusive right to catch eared seals on the islets as they were under jurisdiction of Korea’s Ullung Island and his initial aim was the “lease”, not “incorporation”, of them.
At that time, the Japanese naval ministry was pressing ahead with the building of watchtowers and the laying of underwater cables in the East Sea of Korea for the Russo-Japanese War.
Considering his petition provided them with a good opportunity to realize their long-cherished ambition of seizing the Korean islets, the ministry officials misled Nakai into understanding that they were ownerless land and the foreign ministry also encouraged him to submit the petition to it without delay.
As a result, Nakai’s request for lease was turned into a “petition for the incorporation and lease of Ryanko islet (Tok Islets)” to be submitted to the government on September 29 1904.
Based on this, the cabinet decided to include the islets into Shimane Prefecture on January 28 1905 and the prefectural government issued proclamation No. 40 on February 22 1905.
The announcement said that “the island which is situated 85 miles northwestward from Oki Island and at 37 degrees 9 minutes 30 seconds north latitude and 131 degrees 55 minutes east longitude has been designated as Takeshima and put under the control of the governor of Oki Island belonging to the prefecture from this day”.
However, Japan did neither hold prior consultation on the “incorporation” of the islets with the neighbouring feudal Joson dynasty and any other countries nor send them any notice about it. And the insular nation did not issue a notice about it on its leading newspapers.
As seen above, the “incorporation” of Tok Islets in Shimane Prefecture is utterly devoid of legality.
This notwithstanding, Japan marks the Day of Takeshima on February 22 every year, being hell-bent on seizing the Korean islets.
It is a shameless act of history distortion and an undisguised attempt to revive militarism.