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Antique Japanese maps put Dokdo under Korean control

All Headlines 17:22 March 28, 2012

SEOUL, March 28 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean institute on Wednesday uncovered three more antique Japanese maps showing Dokdo as Korean territory, offering what could be critical evidence against Tokyo's fresh claims to the South Korean islets.

The revelation came a day after Japan's education ministry reasserted Tokyo's territorial claim to the islets in its latest review of high school textbooks. South Korea immediately protested the move by calling in a Japanese diplomat to the foreign ministry and issuing a statement expressing "deep disappointment" at the approval of the textbook, which it said "justifies a distorted historical perspective."

In a posting on its Web site, the Northeast Asian History Foundation said it was holding a press conference earlier in the day to reveal the three maps to the Korean public for the first time, along with several others that were published between the late 18th century and the early 20th century.

One of the maps, printed in 1892, used different colors for Japan and Dokdo, while another one from 1895 did not include the islets within the boundaries of Shimane Prefecture, the closest Japanese region to the rocky outcroppings, according to the institute.

A map from 1904 painted Dokdo in lavender, the same color as Korea's Gangwon Province, it said.

Japan's claims to Dokdo, which lies closer to South Korea in the body of water that divides the Korean Peninsula and Japan, have long been a thorn in relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

South Korea rejects the claims because the country regained independence from Japan's 36-year colonial rule in 1945 and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, including Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea keeps a small police detachment on Dokdo, effectively controlling it.

hague@yna.co.kr
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