Dokdo and Ulleungdo are two islands, part of the Korean territory located in East Asia. Dokdo known as the island of peace is 87.4 kilometers from Ulleungdo. On clear days, Dokdo is infact visible from Ulleungdo. Dokdo is composed of two main islands that are 151 meters apart. Dokdo, or the east island, is 98.6 meters high.
There were some rumors as to Japanese fishermen staying and fishing at Ulleungdo and Dokdo illegally and trying to place their complete right over the place. These illegal acts of Japanese fishermen cannot serve as grounds for sovereignty claims over the islands. Japan claims that Dokdo, a terra nullius, became Japanese territory when it was incorporated into Shimane Prefecture in 1905. Japan, in a self-contradictory remark, also argues that Dokdo has always belonged to Japan. Japanese authorities were asked several times to recognize Korea’s sovereignty over these islands and to forbid Japanese nationals to sail to these islands in future.
Given the history of Korean sovereignty of Dokdo and Japan’s illegal incorporation of the island under Shimane Prefecture in 1905, it would be futile to cite more documents on the sovereignty of Dokdo. It is well known that Japan had taken not only Dokdo but the entire Korean peninsula through violence and greed in 1910. After Japan lost the war in 1945, Korea won back its independence and regained sovereignty over its territory. The Cairo Conference of 1943 forced Japan to give up all territories that it had taken by “violence and greed.”
The allied forces who won the war were not endowed with the authority to determine the sovereignty of Dokdo, but anyhow the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers’ 677th instruction (SCAPIN No. 677) in 1946 specifically outlined Japanese territory, limiting it to four islands, and stated that Ulleungdo, Jeju-do and Dokdo were to be excluded from Japan’s administrative authority.
The reason why Japan wants the issue to be taken to the International Court of Justice is simple. Japan would gain an enormous political advantage by standing at the Court on equal footing with Korea. Since Japan has neither sovereignty nor control over the island, it has nothing to lose even if the matter reaches the Court.
The Republic of Korea has maintained their administration on Dokdo by having a police station and a lighthouse since August 1954. A helicopter pad also was constructed later on by them. The Korean military constantly monitors approaching ships and airplanes and responds if there is an attempt to illegally encroach. So it has been ultimately proved that Dokdo is a part of Korea territory.