Monday, June 05, 2006

Report of Van Fleet mission to the Far East


Japan believes that if it was indebted to Korea, the dept was more than taken care of by the transfer to the Republic of Korea Government of Japan's entire public and private holdings in Korea at the end of World War II.

The essential facts are that the Republic of Korea Government has unilaterally proclaimed its sovereignty over a large area of the high seas bordering Korea and by the use of the Republic of Korea Navy has attempted to exclude Japanese fishermen from operations within the area. At times, the Republic of Korea Navy has fired upon Japanese vessels; some of the vessels have been apprehended and taken to Korean ports. After the crews have been tried and sentenced, most of the captured fishermen have been released, but the vessels usually have been detained and are now being reportedly operated by the Republic of Korea

The United States Government has consistently taken the position that the unilateral proclamation of sovereignty over the seas is illegal and that the fisheries dispute between Japan and Korea should be settled on the basis of a fisheries conservation agreement that would protect the interests of both countries.

When the Treaty of Peace with Japan was being drafted, the Republic of Korea asserted its claims to Dokto but the United States concluded that they remained under Japanese sovereignty and the Island was not included among the Islands that Japan released from its ownership under the Peace Treaty. The Republic of Korea has been confidentially informed of the United States position regarding the islands but our position has not been made public. Though the United States considers that the islands are Japanese territory, we have declined to interfere in the dispute. Our position has been that the dispute might properly be referred to the International Court of Justice and this suggestion has been informally conveyed to the Republic of Korea.

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