Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea

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The Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (Japanese: 日韓基本条約 (Nikkan Kihon Jōyaku?); Korean: 한일기본조약, 韓日基本條約, Hanil Gibon Joyak) was signed on June 22, 1965. It established basic diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea.[1]

Background[edit]

The Treaty was the fruit of the "Korea–Japan Talks," a series of bilateral talks held between South Korea and Japan from October 1951 to June 1965[citation needed] in order to normalize diplomatic ties. Over that period of 14 years, a total of seven talks were held.[citation needed]

In his 1974 Nobel Peace Prize lecture, Eisaku Sato explicitly mentioned the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and South Korea. He described "the guiding spirit of equality and mutual advantage and the realistic approach of seeking to establish friendship with close neighbors" as significant aspects of the extended negotiations which produced this bilateral agreement.[2]

Treaty provisions[edit]

This diplomatic agreement established "normal" diplomatic relations between two East Asian neighbors. The original documents of this agreement are kept respectively by Japan and Korea. The treaty is drafted using English, Japanese, and Korean, and each are considered authentic. In case of a "divergence of interpretation," the English-language version shall be deemed authoritative and prevailing.[3]

The 1965 Treaty also declared that:

It is confirmed that all treaties or agreements concluded between the Empire of Japan and the Empire of Korea on or before August 22, 1910 are already null and void.[4]

Settlement of Problems in Regard to Property and Claims[edit]

With the Treaty, the agreements between Japan and Korea concerning the settlement of problems in regard to property and claims and economic cooperation was also signed. By this Agreement, problems in regard to property and claims between Japan and Korea has been settled completely and finally. However, claims regarding reparation for the injuries suffered by victims of sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Armed forces during the Second World War are not covered by these agreements.

Compensation[edit]

There has been a constant call from the Korean public (and to some extent, Japanese with left or liberal political leaning) that Japan should compensate Korean individuals who suffered from Japanese colonial rule. The Japanese government has refused to do so, arguing that it settled issues on a government-to-government basis under the 1965 agreement.

However, in January 2005, the South Korean government disclosed 1,200 pages of diplomatic documents that recorded the proceeding of the treaty. The documents, kept secret for 40 years, recorded that the Japanese government actually proposed to the Korean government to directly compensate individual victims but it was the South Korean government which insisted that it would handle individual compensation to its citizens and then received the whole amount of grants on behalf of the victims.[5][6]

The Korean government demanded a total of 364 million dollars in compensation for the 1.03 million Koreans conscripted into the workforce and the military during the colonial period,[7] at a rate of 200 dollars per survivor, 1,650 dollars per death and 2,000 dollars per injured person.[8] South Korea agreed to demand no further compensation, either at the government or individual level, after receiving $800 million in grants and soft loans from Japan as compensation for its 1910–45 colonial rule in the treaty.[9]

However, the South Korean government used most of the grants for economic development,[10] failing to provide adequate compensation to victims by paying only 300,000 won per death in compensating victims of forced labor between 1975 and 1977.[8] Instead, the government spent most of the money establishing social infrastructures, founding POSCO, building Gyeongbu Expressway and the Soyang Dam with the technology transfer from Japanese companies.[11] This investment was named Miracle on the Han River in South Korea.

As the result of this revelation, there have been growing calls for the Korean government to compensate the victims. A survey conducted shortly after the disclosure showed that more than 70 percent of Korean people believe the South Korean government should bear responsibility to pay for those victims (ibid.). The South Korean government announced that it will establish a team to deal with the appeals for compensation, although "It has been the government's position that compensation for losses during the Japanese occupation has already been settled".[12]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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