November 16, 2009 10:00
A legislative document from 1946 shows Japan voluntarily acknowledging that Dokdo does not belong to it. According to records obtained on Sunday by Liberty Forward Party lawmaker Park Sun-young from an unidentified senior Japanese government official, Japan's Ministry of Finance issued a notice document numbered 654 on Aug. 15, 1946, a year after Korean independence, that says Dokdo is foreign soil along with Korea, Taiwan, Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands and the South Sea Islands.
In 1946, just after it was defeated in World War II, Japan enacted an emergency law handling corporate accounting matters to resolve the issue of overdue payments and compensation owed by Japanese companies, Park's office explained in a statement. The emergency law designated the assets, real estate and other property owned by Japanese companies that would be necessary for the country to rebuild itself, and also designated assets that were to be excluded, namely land that belonged to foreign nations. Dokdo was on the list of those to be excluded.
Korea has already learned about two legislative Japanese documents issued since the end of World War II in which Tokyo acknowledged the fact that Dokdo was not part of Japanese territory. One, passed to Cheong Wa Dae in December last year by the state-run Korea Maritime Institute, was Prime Ministerial ordinance no. 24 proclaimed on June 6, 1951. The other was a Finance Ministry ordinance issued on Feb. 13, 1951. There was evidence of efforts by the Japanese government to conceal the two documents.
The latest find was proclaimed five years earlier. "The latest discovery is a valuable legislative document for us in the fight over sovereignty over Dokdo," Park said. "The government must be more active in its search for such historic and legal evidence and use it so we can finally put this sovereignty dispute to rest."
Professor Yuji Hosaka at Sejong University, a Dokdo expert and naturalized Korean citizen, said the document appears to be "the first legislative document showing Japan's exclusion of Dokdo from its own territory following its defeat in World War II."
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