Recently, the Korean government lodged an official complaint about Japan's inclusion of the Dokdo islets in a Japanese map posted on the website of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee. Amid this sovereignty claim by Japan, commemorative coins describing Dokdo as part of Korea's territory were issued abroad. Next, we will bring you a story about these special coins.
Issued in July, these silver commemorative coins are sold internationally. They are inscribed with a vivid description of the two rocky outcroppings comprising Dokdo. The Romanized spellings of "Dokdo" and a phrase meaning the islets belong to Korea are clearly visible. The coins are a legal currency marked with a face value. Surprisingly, they were issued by Tanzania, not South Korea.
[Soundbite] IM SEON-HWA(OFFICE WORKER) : "Tanzania? Why did the country issue commemorative coins on Dokdo?"
Industry insiders explain that central banks of some countries often issue commemorative coins on various themes as a profit-making project. Back in 2005, commemorative coin on Dokdo was issued in Uganda. In contrast, the Bank of Korea chose not to issue commemorative coins about Dokdo due to potential diplomatic consequences. However, some people are stressing the need to release such coins soon.
[Soundbite] LEE SANG-HYUN(COIN AND STAMP COLLECTOR) : "There are concerns that Dokdo could be recognized as Japan's territory internationally if Japan first issues commemorative coins on it. So Korea needs to actively consider issuing such coins."
North Korea issued eight types of commemorative coins on Dokdo in 2004. A law on the issuance of commemorative coins was revised in 2012 to ease related regulations. The ironic situation of Dokdo commemorative coins issued by foreign countries being sold in Korea continues.