Korean translation of Japan’s defense White Paper claims ownership of Dokdo

Posted on : 2015-01-22 20:35 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Ministry of National Defense facing criticism for delayed response after receiving document

Japan recently published a Korean language translation of the 2014 defense White Paper referring to Dokdo (Takeshima in Japanese) as belonging to Japan, the South Korean government discovered.

On Jan. 21, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense summoned the military attache from the Japanese embassy in Seoul to convey a strongly worded protest about the reference.

But since the ministry made the complaint a full week after it received the translated White Paper from Japan on Jan. 13, it is under fire for taking too long to respond.

“Japan had the main points of a 2014 defense white paper translated into Korean and had the military attache at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul deliver around 50 copies of the White Paper to the Ministry of National Defense. We discovered that the Korean translation of the document referred to Dokdo as being Japanese territory,” said an official from the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.

On Wednesday morning, Park Cheol-gyun, deputy head of international policy bureau at the Ministry of National Defense, summoned Masashi Yamano, Japan’s military attache to South Korea. Park expressed South Korea‘s strong disapproval of the reference to Dokdo and returned all copies of the translation.

The document in question was a Korean translation of a 28-page summary of the White Paper that had been originally published in Japanese in Aug. 2014. When the original document was published, the South Korean government protested a claim it contained that Dokdo was Japanese territory.

In 2013, Japan translated the previous defense White Paper into Korean and delivered it to the military attache at the South Korean Embassy in Japan.

“The previous document made no claims about ownership of Dokdo, so we did not take issue with it,” said an official at the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.

While the Japanese military attache in Seoul delivered the Korean translation of the defense White Paper to the official responsible for cooperation between military attaches at the South Korean Ministry of National Defense Intelligence Agency on Jan. 13, the translation was not passed along to the Northeast Asian section of the ministry’s policy department until Jan. 20.

“On Jan. 15, the Defense Intelligence Agency sent the Korean translation to the Northeast Asian section of the policy department of the Ministry of National Defense according to document processing protocol. Because there was a weekend in the middle, the document was delivered late, which is why the response was delayed,” an official at the ministry explained.


By Park Byong-su, senior staff writer


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