Takeshima Islands

Takeshima Islands

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Takeshima Islands
Japan's Inalterable Position on the Sovereignty of Takeshima

In the light of historical facts and based upon international law, it is apparent that Takeshima is an inherent part of the territory of Japan. The occupation of Takeshima by the Republic of Korea is an illegal occupation undertaken on absolutely no basis in international law. Any measures taken with regard to Takeshima by the Republic of Korea based on such an illegal occupation have no legal justification. (Note: The Republic of Korea has yet to demonstrate a clear basis for its claims that, prior to Japan's effective control over Takeshima and establishment of sovereignty, the Republic of Korea had previously demonstrated effective control over Takeshima.)

1960 Apr 27 - American Ambassador says Takeshima is Japanese territory, not Korean

On 27th April, 1960, American Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II sent telegram to J. Graham Parsons, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, in Washington, and in it, he says that gTherefore we should also press new@ROK regime to return Takeshima to Japan.h We already knew that U.S. warned ROK that Takeshima is Japanese island in both 1951 and 1952.

Telegram from D.MacArthur to SECSTATE in1960_1

For Assft Secfy Parsons from MacArthur Seoul for Ambassador McConaughy

Now that we have prospect of new and democratic regime in Korea I strongly recommend that as soon as possible we seize opportunity to try to bring about durable solution to ROK-Japan dispute. As long as Rhee held power there seemed little chance of any solution but now we have entirely new situation which could lead to liquidation of ROK-Japan controversy. Implications of ROK-Japan dispute are not just bilateral between GOJ and ROK but deeply and directly involve US and our inescapable solution is to be found it will be produced only by our good offices and working closely with both ROK and GOJ. It is of utmost importance that we identify and be prepared to move swiftly for solution those specific ROK-GOJ problems which prevented progress toward basic settlement this festering dispute. We do not know what response Communists may make to new ROK regime and it is vital we try to put ROK-GOJ house in order as soon as possible.

Telegram from D.MacArthur to SECSTATE in1960_2While Rhee regime violated most basic tenets of democracy in authoritarian police rule imposed on Korean people, it has also in past done violence to most fundamental principles of international conduct and morality by committing acts of piracy on high seas around Rhee Line and then imprisoning and holding as political hostages Japanese fishermen and by seizing and holding non-Korean territory by force. The uncivilized practice of hostage diplomacy is one of our serious charges against Communist China and if continued by ROK it will be a great liability to a new democratic ROK regime.

I therefore recommend strongly that as soon as new regime is in control in Korea (whether or noti it be of interim character) we use all our influence to persuade it (1) to release and return to Japan all repeat all Japanese fishermen hostages (including those who have not completed their sentences) who have suffered so cruelly from Rheefs uncivilized and oppressive acts and (2) to cease practice of seizing Japanese fishing vessels on high seas. This would not only rid new ROK reegime of liability of practicing hostage diplomacy but also more than anything else would lay foundation in Japan for really fruitful negotiations. At same time I would be prepared to press Kishi and GOJ most strongly that in return for repatriation of all fishermen, Japanese would exercise self-restraint in their fishing operations in Korean Straits until reasonable opportunity had been given for negotiation of mutually agreed ROK-Japan fishing conservation agreement.

Telegram from D.MacArthur to SECSTATE in1960_3In addition to seizing Japanese boats on high seas and practicing hostage diplomacy, Rhee regime also seized by force and is holding illegally Takeshima Island which has always been considered as Japanese territory. This is very serious and permanent irritant in Japan-ROK relations and there can be no over-all ROK-Japan settlement until this Japanese island is returned to Japan. Therefore we should also press new ROK regime to return Takeshima to Japan. If it is unwilling to do so pending satisfactory conclusion of over-all ROK-Japan negotiations, new regime should at least signify a willingness to withdraw from Takeshima as part of mutually satisfactory settlement of other outstanding issues between two countries. While we should press strongly for return of Takeshima to Japan, if by any chance new regime were unwilling to do so we should, as very minimum, insist that they agree to submit matter to International Court of Justice for arbitration.

Telegram from D.MacArthur to SECSTATE in1960_4Finally, we should inform new regime very clearly that it must be prepared to adjust its relations with Japan on terms of reciprocity, in such matters as diplomatic missions, visits by businessmen and journalists, commercial trade. Japanese have suffered Rheefs occupation-minded approach for eight years and will be unwilling to accept such indefensible treatment from his successor. In its own interests, new regime should start with conformity with normal international standards of conduct, and could most usefully begin (in terms of Japanese and other free world opinion) by permitting Japanese diplomatic mission to enter and function in ROK on same terms ROK Embassy operates here.

If we now move swiftly with new ROK regime which should generally be receptive to our views because of our helpfulness, we may have initial opportunity, which may never reoccur, to influence its position on Japan-ROK problem. Japanese would certainly welcome warmly and reciprocate fully, measures indicating new ROK regime willing take gnew lookh at Japan.


Douglas MacArthur II is a nephew of General MacArthur and an American diplomat. He served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1957-1961.