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]


As Korea was not a signatory state of the Treaty of San Francisco, It was not entitled to the benefits of Article 14 which stipulates the reparations by Japan. However, by the provisions of Article 21 of the treaty, Korea was entitled to be an authority applied to Article 4 of the treaty which states the arrangement of property and claims.[citation needed]

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 is 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]


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. Japan provided South Korea with $300 million grant in economic aid and $200 million in loans together with $300 million in loans for private trust, a total of $800 million as "economic cooperation".[5] By this Agreement, problems in regard to property and claims between Japan and Korea has been settled completely and finally.

Use of loans and grants[edit]

The loans and grants provided to South Korea were used for the following projects. Pohang Iron and Steel Company used $88.68 million loan and $30.8 million grant, a total of $119.48 million, 23.9% of $500 million loans and grants.[6][7]

$200M loans
Project Expense (M$) %
Construction of Pohang Iron and Steel Company 88.68 44.3
Construction of Soyang Dam 41.22 20.6
Bringing up small business 22.23 11.1
Improvement of railway facilities 21.16 10.6
Maritime development project 8.17 4.1
Construction of Gyeongbu Expressway 7.24 3.6
Expansion of long distant telephone service 4.19 2.1
Dredging operation 3.29 1.6
Others 3.82 1.9
Total 200.00 100.0
$300M grants
Project Expense (M$) %
Korea Exchange Bank: Purchase of raw material 132.82 44.2
Development of agriculture water 30.84 10.3
Construction of Pohang Iron and Steel Company 30.80 10.2
Introduction of fishing vessel 27.17 9.1
Construction of maritime training vessel 13.47 4.5
Weather forecast facilities 6.38 2.1
Power transmission and distribution facilities 3.66 1.2
Cartography of rural area 3.20 1.1
Others 51.66 17.3
Total 300.00 100.0


There has been a constant call from the South 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 South 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.[8][9][10]

The South 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,[11] at a rate of 200 dollars per survivor, 1,650 dollars per death and 2,000 dollars per injured person.[12] 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.[10]

However, the South Korean government used most of the grants for economic development,[13] 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.[12] 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.[14] This investment was named Miracle on the Han River in South Korea.

As the result of this revelation[according to whom?], there have been growing calls for the South Korean government to compensate the victims. A survey conducted shortly after the disclosure showed that more than 70 percent of South Koreans believe the South Korean government should bear responsibility to pay for those victims. 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".[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oda, Shigeru. "The Normalization of Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea," The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 61, No. 1 (Jan., 1967), pp. 35-56.
  2. ^ Nobel Peace Prize, Eisaku Sato, Nobel laureate lecture, "The Pursuit of Peace and Japan in the Nuclear Age," December 11, 1974.
  3. ^ Hook, p. 492., p. 492, at Google Books
  4. ^ Hook, Glenn D. (2001). Japan's International Relations: Politics, Economics, and Security, p. 491., p. 491, at Google Books
  5. ^ Ishikida, Miki Y (2005). Toward Peace: War Responsibility, Postwar Compensation, and Peace Movements and Education in Japan. iUniverse. p. 21. ISBN 0595350631. Japan provided South Korea with $300 million in economic aid through products and services and $200 million in loans with products and services over the next ten years (1965-1975), together with $300 million in loans for private trust. In exchange, South Korea renounced all rights to request reparation and compensation. 
  6. ^ "대일청구권 자금 쓴 기업들, 징용피해 지원은 ‘나몰라라’" [Companies benefitted by the Japanese loan and grant disregard the victims of conscription]. The Hankyoreh. May 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ 청구권자금백서 [Claim fund White Paper]. Economic Planning Board. December 20, 1976. 
  8. ^ Documents show Seoul agreed to compensate its citizens over Japan's colonial rule Mainichi January 17, 2005[dead link]
  9. ^ "Compensation for Colonial Victims Is Not Just a Legal Problem," Chosun Ilbo January 17, 2005
  10. ^ a b "S.Korea discloses sensitive documents". 17 January 2005. 
  11. ^ a b "Declassified Documents Could Trigger Avalanche of Lawsuits," Chosun Ilbo January 17, 2005
  12. ^ a b "Seoul Demanded $364 Million for Japan's Victims Updated," Chosun Ilbo January 17, 2005
  13. ^ "Seoul ready to launch panel on Korean victims of colonial rule," Koreaherald February 11, 2005
  14. ^ Jong sik Kong Korea Was Most Efficient in Utilizing Japanese Reparation, Dong-a Ilbo, JANUARY 19, 2005.


External links[edit]