On August 15, 1945 Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule in accordance with Japanese government's accepting the allied terms of Japan's surrender, including clause 8 of The Department of State Bulletin of July 29, 1945(Vol. XIII, No. 318)
(8) The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as we determine.The bulletin comes from the Potsdam Conference of July-August, 1945.
In case you were wondering what the Cairo Declaration was, it was an unsigned press release produced after a November 1943 conference of Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill in Egypt. Here is the short document (with a pic):
The several military missions have agreed upon future military operations against Japan. The Three Great Allies expressed their resolve to bring unrelenting pressure against their brutal enemies by sea, land, and air. This pressure is already mounting.Emphasis was mine. Just another little quirk of history that the seeds of Korean Independence were sown at a meeting halfway across the world.
The Three Great Allies are fighting this war to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan. They covet no gain for themselves and have no thought of territorial expansion.
It is their purpose that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which she has seized or occupied since the beginning of the First World War in 1914, and that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, shall be restored to the Republic of China.
Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed. The aforesaid three great powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent.
With these objects in view the three Allies, in harmony with those of the United Nations at war with Japan, will continue to persevere in the serious and prolonged operations necessary to procure the unconditional surrender of Japan.
[released without signatures]
Of course, we can't have a major holiday like this without political posturing.
In keeping with Korea's authoritarian past, 1,057 prisoners were paroled today.
Best political grandstanding of the day: Grand National Party members visiting Dokdo and calling on Japan to 'stop making territorial claims over the islets.' Honorable mention goes to President Roh who used the occasion to call for the creation of a Kuk Hoe committee to investigate past Korean governments and Japanese occupation collaborators (a move seen by many as a means to bash his political opponents).