Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Restored Japanese gov't map shows Dokdo as Korean territory

A deteriorated map created by the Japanese government has been restored in South Korea and shows the easternmost islets of Dokdo as Korean territory, officials said Wednesday, in what they say is yet more proof refuting Japan's claims to the islets.

The back of the map, printed on both sides of the paper in 1936, was unreadable because it had been pasted over with a sheet of thick paper. After five months of efforts, the National Archives of Korea, an agency charged with preserving government records, restored the original version of the map.

The map is one of few copies in existence that played an important role for Allied forces to recognize Dokdo as Korean territory shortly after Japan's World War II surrender, a scholar said.

Shin Yong-ha, a chair professor at the University of Ulsan and head of the Dokdo Institute, said the map "provided important grounds for Allied forces to recognize Dokdo as our territory on Aug. 15, 1945, when Japan surrendered."

The map was donated in 1988 by bibliographer Lee Jong-hak to the Independence Hall of Korea.

Dokdo, which lies closer to Korea in the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, has long been a thorn in bilateral relations. Korea keeps a small police detachment on the islets, effectively controlling them.

Koreans view Japan's claim over Dokdo as tantamount to denying its rights because the country regained independence from the 1910-45 Japanese colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, which includes Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)

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