Japan’s Island Territories. The Senkaku Islands, Takeshima, and The Northern Territories

The OPRI Center for Island Studies, SPF is operated by the Ocean Policy Research Institute, SPF with the tasks of collecting and organizing historical materials and relevant literature on various issues related to Japan’s islands. In particular, we concentrate on scholarly analysis of these issues from the perspectives of historical developments and international law.

About us

THE SENKAKU ISLANDS

The OPRI Center for Island Studies, SPF is operated by the Ocean Policy Research Institute, SPF with the tasks of collecting and organizing historical materials and relevant literature on various issues related to Japan’s islands. In particular, we concentrate on scholarly analysis of these issues from the perspectives of historical developments and international law.

About us

TAKESHIMA

The OPRI Center for Island Studies, SPF is operated by the Ocean Policy Research Institute, SPF with the tasks of collecting and organizing historical materials and relevant literature on various issues related to Japan’s islands. In particular, we concentrate on scholarly analysis of these issues from the perspectives of historical developments and international law.

About us

THE NORTHERN TERRITORIES

The OPRI Center for Island Studies, SPF is operated by the Ocean Policy Research Institute, SPF with the tasks of collecting and organizing historical materials and relevant literature on various issues related to Japan’s islands. In particular, we concentrate on scholarly analysis of these issues from the perspectives of historical developments and international law.

About us

Japan Coast Guard Activities On and Around Takeshima

The islands of Takeshima, an inherent part of Japanese territory, have been occupied by South Korea from 1954. The Japan Coast Guard is believed to have had its first involvement with the islands when it conducted surveys in June of the previous year. Hirose Hajime, an emeritus professor at the Japan Coast Guard Academy, traces the history of the JCG involvement with Takeshima, examining teaching materials, accounts of the surveys in the 1950s, and JCG white papers and annual reports.

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Japan’s Island Territories
The Senkaku Islands, Takeshima, and The Northern Territories

The Info Library clearly shows how the Senkaku Islands, Takeshima and the Northern Territories, consisting of the four islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and Habomai, are historically and internationally part of the territory of Japan. Please make use of these materials to correctly understand the legal status and geographical and historical background of the island territories of Japan.

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Research

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The Senkaku Islands as Viewed through Chinese Law

China claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands and is engaged in maritime territorial disputes with several of its neighbors. The country’s domestic laws are a valuable lens for understanding its approach to these issues. Sakamoto Shigeki, a professor of international law specializing in maritime policy and legal affairs, presents a detailed examination of Chinese legal claims with respect to the Senkakus, as well as to disputed waters in the South China Sea, concluding that Japan needs to review its own legislation and to communicate closely with China to avoid an escalation.

The "Critical Date" of the Takeshima Dispute

The territorial dispute over Takeshima began in 1952, when South Korean President Syngman Rhee asserted sovereignty over a sea area including the islands. Takeshima is Japanese territory historically and legally, and Japan has urged Korea to agree to International Court of Justice proceedings to resolve the issue, to no avail. Legal specialist Miyoshi Masahiro explores the case, defining 1952 as the “critical date” after which acts should not be taken into consideration in determining the legal status of Takeshima. South Korea must promptly recognize the need for a law-based resolution.

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Readings

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Japan Coast Guard Activities On and Around Takeshima

The islands of Takeshima, an inherent part of Japanese territory, have been occupied by South Korea from 1954. The Japan Coast Guard is believed to have had its first involvement with the islands when it conducted surveys in June of the previous year. Hirose Hajime, an emeritus professor at the Japan Coast Guard Academy, traces the history of the JCG involvement with Takeshima, examining teaching materials, accounts of the surveys in the 1950s, and JCG white papers and annual reports.

English-Language Research Papers Related to Takeshima Prepared by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1947

During the occupation period, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a series of research papers to the United States. Some of these focused on territorial issues as Japan sought to clarify what it would retain in the peace settlement. There is an argument that Japanese lobbying efforts during this period led to the mistaken definition of Takeshima as not being a part of Korean territory in the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty. But the legal scholar Tsukamoto Takashi’s examination concludes that this was not the case.

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THE SENKAKU ISLANDS
Facts&Figures

Feb 17, 2015

Workers drying bonito in Uotsuri Island after incorporation of the territory  Photo provided Ms.Hanako KOGA, in the posession of the Naha City Museum History
Workers drying bonito in Uotsuri Island after incorporation of the territory Photo provided Ms.Hanako KOGA, in the posession of the Naha City Museum History

The Government of Japan conducted surveys of the Senkaku Islands and confirmed that the Islands had been not only uninhabited but also showed no trace of having been under the control of the Qing Dynasty of China. Based on this confirmation, the Government of Japan made a Cabinet Decision on January 14, 1895, to erect markers on the islands to formally incorporate the Senkaku Islands into the territory of Japan. These measures were carried out in accordance with the internationally accepted means of duly acquiring territorial sovereignty under international law (occupation of terra nullius).
The Senkaku Islands Facts & Figures(F&F)site provides facts that are based on the official documents and research reports to enhance the understanding that the Senkaku Islands have historically, internationally, and consistently been part of the territory of Japan.

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TAKESHIMA

Facts&Figures

Feb 17, 2015

Workers engaging in the fishery near by Takeshima in 1934 (Photo provided by the Osaka Asahi Shimbun newspaper)
Workers engaging in the fishery near by Takeshima in 1934
(Photo provided by the Osaka Asahi Shimbun newspaper)

The Government of Japan officially named the Islands “Takeshima” and decided that the Islands would come under the jurisdiction of the Oki Island branch office of the Shimane Prefectural Government by Cabinet Decision on January 1905. The Cabinet Decision reconfirmed Takeshima as Japanese territory. Japan has exercised its sovereignty over Takeshima peacefully and continuously since then.
The Takeshima Facts & Figures(F&F)site provides facts that are based on the official documents and research reports to enhance the understanding that Takeshima has historically, internationally, and consistently been an inherent part of the territory of Japan.

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THE NORTHERN TERRITORIES Facts&Figures

Feb 17, 2015

A cannery on Shibotsu Islet in the Habomai Islands (Photo provided by the League of Residents of Chishima and Habomai Islands)
A cannery on Shibotsu Islet in the Habomai Islands (Photo provided by the League of Residents of Chishima and Habomai Islands)

The Northern Territories, consisting of the four islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and Habomai, are an inherent part of the territory of Japan, which have never been held by foreign countries. The Soviet Union unilaterally incorporated the territories into its own territories without any legal grounds, and expelled all Japanese residents (approximately 17,000 people) from the Four Northern Islands.
The Northern Territories Facts & Figures(F&F)site provides facts that are based on international and official documents to let Japanese people know the historical background and natural environment of the Northern Territories. The photos on the site show the Japanese residents of the Four Northern Islands at that time.

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Briefs