It's a debate that have been going on for a long time. Both sides are using different historical pieces to justify their claim. While Korea has stronger claim over the island due to the fact that their sea trades in the seas developed earlier than their counterpart thanks to Chinese influence, this debate is really meaningless in the overall scheme of things. The fact that earlier Korean dynasties occupied the island does not justify their claim in modern era, especially due to the size of the island and the fact tha it's occupied by few South Korean troops.
It's just the matter of who wants the island more badly. Both ROK and Japan's nationalism forces both government to demand their claim as that's the only thing that's politically acceptable to both parties. I think it made the West very difficult to give Dokdo to Japan especially after the troubles the Japanese Empire gave to Brits and Americans after WWII. Korean Navy has been improving supported by their emerging economy. (They aim for Blue Water capability by 2020) Japan's powerful navy is politically unacceptable to the West.
So Korea gets the island unless something happens in the future. (Ex. Japan deveops their own navy without any restrictions and/or massive oil reseve discovery)
BTW, was there a prize for this essay contest?
Edited by Rossef - 03-Apr-2012 at 17:46