South Korea and Japan have both failed to find evidence of historic land claims that will completely clear up the situation, and they probably never will.
The Dokdo Islands have been administered by South Korea since 1954, and yet Japan still claims that the Dokdo Islands are theirs. South Korea is still trying to claim that the Dokdo Islands are theirs and theirs alone as well, and the two nations have been fighting for the right to the islands for more than fifty years. Both countries keep trying to dig back into their respective histories in order to find historic land claims that will validate their present ownership of the islands. However, the Dokdo Islands belong to South Korea. For the sake of international relations, Japan should respect that.
Their Word Against Theirs
The strategy of both South Korea and Japan in many cases has been to try going back as far into their respective histories as possible to find evidence of their historic claims to the Dokdo Islands. These two nations have literally gone back to the seventeenth century in order to find what they're looking for, and they have still failed to produce the historical artifacts that will painlessly resolve the situation. Essentially, when it comes to sheer historical documents that will conclusively prove which country is the 'rightful' owner, both of these countries are more or less even. After decades of trying, they haven't been able to succeed through the use of the legal argument. There is no reason to believe that they should succeed now. Doing what is best for the international community makes sense, and keeping this terrible land dispute going is certainly not helping anyone.
Focusing on Present Land Claims
Even if Japan could find such a document, it should not give them any power over the land in the twenty-first century. South Korea has been handling this land since the mid-twentieth century, and it's theirs. Different groups have occupied and controlled different land areas for a long time. The distribution of world nations and world politics was completely different in the seventeenth century. Going that far back in order to get land claims means distorting the current world order. South Korea has been controlling the land for decades in modern times and should continue to do so. The few government workers and residents of the islands are all South Korean. In so much as the islands even can belong to anyone, they belong to South Korea.
Japan's History of Imperialism
Korea is a country that has been torn apart by imperialistic powers for a long time. Japan is one of those imperialistic powers. While the modern nation of Japan has usually become a much more peaceful nation, the incident with the Dokdo Islands seems to suggest that Japan still has not entirely recovered from its violent imperialistic past. Many Japanese conservatives still fail to acknowledge the violent and relatively recent chapter in Japanese history, and modern Japanese people have a responsibility to show the rest of the world that their nation is different now.
South Korea and Japan have both failed to find evidence of historic land claims that will completely clear up the situation, and they probably never will. These have always been disputed territories and dragging the past into it just sustains the controversy. When it comes to settling land claims, the distant past shouldn't matter. The needs of people today should matter. In the context of the needs of people today, South Korea should have the Dokdo Islands. Japan should not be able to invalidate everything that has happened to them for decades as a result of a dusty land claim from four hundred years ago, which Japan still cannot find. Japan was fighting to control the Dokdo Islands in the mid-twentieth century, shortly after Japan lost World War Two and should have been fully making amends for its horrific actions during the war. Japan's actions now are insensitive, given the history of these islands, and the fact that Japan keeps on pursuing them anyway suggests that its modern conservative population may not have learned anything from the past.