Dokdo is a group of small islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea).Dokdo is considered as a natural monument number 336 of South Korea. This treeless island is formed by the volcanic outcrop. The island is called also known as "Takeshima" in Japanese or "Liancourt Rocks" to the people from other countries. The Franco-English name of the islets derives from Le Liancourt, which is a French whaling ship which came close to being wrecked on Dokdo in 1849. It consists of two main islets and other 35 smaller rocks.The total surface area of the islets is 0.18745 square kilometers, and its highest elevation is 169 meters.Dokdo is situated at a distance of 216.8 kilometers from mainland Korea and 211 kilometers from main island of Japan. The nearest Korean island, Ulleungdo, is at the distance 87.4 kilometers away while it is 157 kilometers away from the nearest Japanese island, Oki Island.
Two neighbor countries, South Korea and Japan, are fighting each other for this small group of islets. Many other countries fight against each other for the enlargement of their territories, but the conflict between South Korea and Japan has lasted for years. Both South Korea and Japan have their own name of calling the island, they have its own address name, and they both have their own reasons why the island is theirs. To solve this conflict between Korea and Japan, we have to know very well their history between them. As both Korea and Japan are fighting for the land, they would not give up on the island so easily. No country would easily give up on their territory.
Currently, there is one Korean family living in one of Dokdo islets, and there are in total of 34 Korean guards. The job of guards is to protect from the invasion from other countries, and as Dokdo is located at the most eastern part of Korea, Korea used Dokdo to watch if enemies come to invade, because you can quickly report Ulleungdo about the invasion of enemies. If the weather of Dokdo is nice, you can see Ulleungdo at the top of Dokdo.
North Korea is not involved in this conflict, and the reason why North Korea is because Dokdo is part of Gyeongsang province of South Korea.
In this essay, I will be explaining their reasons of fighting for Dokdo, the assertion of both South Korea and Japan's reasons and assertions, Japanese's idea on how to make peace and my personal idea on how to make peace.
How have they been fighting?
South Korea and Japan are neighbor but also a rival country. Both of them had a lot of conflicts together. Back in the centuries, Korea and Japan and several wars which made some rivalry between them. Aside from this conflict, they have many other conflicts going on them. Nowadays, Japan and Korea are not fighting by having a war, but there were some anti-Korean protesters in Japan. They moved around and protested Korea in several cities including Tokyo. Japanese people protested wanting the severance of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan. All this happened within many reasons, and Dokdo problem is included in those reasons.
In London Olympic of 2012, when South Korea won bronze medal in soccer game, South Korea had to play against Japan. South Korea won against Japan, and a soccer player came up with a banner which had message of "Dokdo is our territory". That soccer player was banned from the list of medalist, and many South Korean Netizens went crazy on this discussion. FIFA, Federation Internationale de Football Association, considered the player's action as the politic act between two countries which it is forbidden in Olympics. The player received the medal in 2013.
In 1954, Japan proposed the offer of International Court of Justice about Dokdo's problem, however, Korea declined the offer. Then in 2012, Japan offered again for the first time in 62 years. The reason that triggered this ICJ was because of the soccer player in London Olympic.However, Korea rejected the offer again saying"Dokdo is clearly part of Korean territory historically, geographically and under international law, and no territorial dispute exists" and "The Japanese government's proposal to take the Dokdo issue before the ICJ is not worth attention". Japan said that if Korea is sure that Dokdo is their territory, Korea could have accepted the ICJ, but as Korea did not accept ICJ, Japan tries to tell that Korea is not telling the truth about Dokdo. If Korea accepts to solve this problem in ICJ, to Japan, trying would not do any harm on them. Only one who would get harmed will be Korea. Why would a country want to do something that he might not get anything from it, but to get hurt from it?
Anti-Korean protesters have been on action since long time ago. Anti-Koreans are protesting not only with the problem of Dokdo but also other conflicts that occur between Japan and South Korea. When Anti-Koreans protest, they usually insult Korea itself, Korean flag, and explain why the Japanese have to have the hatred on South Korea. There has been a case in which many Japanese stepped on South Korean flag in a public place, and many Koreans got furious about this action. In my personal opinion, Japanese people should not get too aggressive with any conflict they have. Just because Korea is weaker country, that doesn't mean that the Koreans should be disrespected by them.
Anti-Japanese protesters usually teach history between Japan and Korea to little kids and the reason why there are troubles between South Korea and Japan. This act somehow implants the hatred towards Japan to other people. As "History" is an optional school subject, many kids misunderstand and don't know much about Dokdo. They explain that the problem on Dokdo is one of the biggest troubles between two countries, but it is always forbidden to insult Japan and other Japanese even though they can criticize what Japan did to Korea.
Worth of Dokdo
Dokdo is a perfect, invaluable fishing place which can be the base of fishery of Sea of Japan (East Sea), which tells that when one of two countries have the dominium of the island Dokdo, they can make a great benefit out of it.
Although Dokdo was a great place to fish, there is bigger reason why they fight for. In 1997, Professor W.H. Baek of Gyeongsang National University Department Chemistry received a map from a Russian researcher Kuznetsov which was marking a point of Sea of Japan (East Sea) which could possibly have the source of Gas Hydrate. Gas Hydrate is a solid state of natural gas which has methane as its substance. It was more than a ten times greater than any other existing sources of natural gas, and it was an instructive resource that can tell us where petroleum resource is buried.South Korea tried to hide the existence of Gas Hydrate of the East Sea. Professor W.H. Baek asked Kuznetsov more about Gas Hydrate, but Kuznetsov, a close friend of the professor, meaningfully hid the existence. However, Shindonga, a Korean newspaper company, reports about everything about the issue between Gas Hydrate and Dokdo. Because of these reasons, Japan is constantly claiming over Dokdo, and Japan is not only claiming as well, .but they are protecting its economic values by claiming over Dokdo.In 1997, as Korea was the 6th greatest consumer and 4th largest importer of crude oil in the world, and Japan realized that Dokdo might help Korea's economy quite a lot.
This explains that Dokdo has very high value when it comes to mineral resources. Methane Hydrate can be mineral resource but it is also like a resource to have petroleum. Both Korea and Japan have chances to get petroleum stored in Dokdo.
Not only fishing and resources could favor Korea and Japan, but it is also a perfect touristic place for those foreigners that visit Korea or Japan. There are many tourists who visit South Korea and tour near the island. They are usually not permitted to enter the island, because Japan does not want to permit any other person in Dokdo.If one country, either Japan or Korea, permits the entrance, then they will gain a lot of benefit out of Dokdo with the tourism.
These reasons make both countries insist their idea. When two countries fight for an object, it is because that object can help the country a lot if you have it.
Assertion of South Korea and Japan
The island Dokdo was originally possessed by South Korea. Japan once ruled and took the control over the entire peninsula of Korea. When Japanese lost the Second World War, Japan freed South Korea. However, according to Japanese people, Japan did not give away South Korea's Island, Dokdo. Japan is using this fact as the main reason why the island is theirs.
Japan first claimed for the possession over the island, because Korea has changed its name several times before Japan took the control over Korea. Japanese once claimed because they have found an old map describing that there were two islands called "Ulleungdo" and "Mulleungdo" and Mulleungdo is also called "Usan". Japanese claimed that "Usando" is totally different island that is not "Dokdo"."Usando (1432)", "Sambongdo (1476)", "Jasando (1696)", "Seokdo" are the ancient names for Dokdo in Korean.
In 1905, Japan claimed Dokdo as their territory because Japanese enrolled Dokdo as Shimane's territory as a land with no ownership. However, South Korea claimed back that there were people living in Dokdo.
After the alliance of Japan loses at the Second World War in 1945, Japan signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, when South Korea was busy with their civil war. At the beginning of Article 2 of the treaty, it says: "Japan recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all right, title and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and Dagelet". South Korea has over 4000 islands, but they mentioned 3 most important islands. However, Japan used that as a source of claim. They claimed because when Japan was signing the liberation of Korea, Japan did not include Dokdo as the part of independence. If Japan did not mention other islands in the treaty, does that mean that they can handle other islands? Why won't they claim for other islands but Dokdo? No.
Similar dispute between Japan and China
Recently, Japan and China had a big dispute over the ownership of the Senkaku Island (Diayudao).Senkaku Island was originally possessed by Japan, however, it is located too close to China, and China started to say that Senkaku is theirs.In 2012, China started the dispute against Japan with Senkaku island. Many people in China started to make groups of Anti-Japanese, and some group of Anti-Japanese started to demolish everything that relates to Japan. Chinese made a raid on many Japanese store and inflamed it. Making a raid on Japanese store was not all they did. They destroyed Japanese cars, machines, and etc. If the group of Anti-Japanese find a Japanese on the street, they would assault Japanese. In 2012, China wanted to bring this problem to International Court of Justice, however, Japan rejected it. The reason why China wants Senkaku Island is because besides of being a good fishing place, Senkaku Island has the gas source just as Dokdo has. As soon as China discovered about the existence of the gas, China immediately started the argue to have the island.
You can find some similarities between the dispute between Japan and China and between Japan and South Korea. First, China wanted to claim ICJ about Senkaku Island problem, however, Japan rejected with similar reason why Korea rejected ICJ from Japan; there is no reason to accept if the island is theirs, and other country would not harm themselves. Second, they have similar resources. Although the fishing is important, Senkaku has very rich underground source just like Dokdo has. If they say that