History of Korea/Japan Issue
Photos of Chusen Period
Photos during Japanese Period



Treaty on Basic Relations between
Japan and the Republic of Korea 1965



The Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea
(Japanese: ؊{ (Nikkan Kihon Joyaku), was signed on June 22, 1965 to establish basic relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

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 South Korea agreed to demand no compensations, either at the government or individual level, after receiving $800 million in grants and soft loans from Japan as compensation for its 1910-1945 colonial rule in the treaty[1].

The documents also recorded that the Korean government originally 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[2], at a rate of 200 dollars per survivor, 1,650 dollars per death and 2,000 dollars per injured person[3]. However, the South Korean government used most of the grants for economic development [4], 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 [5].

The documents also reveals that the South Korean government claimed that it would handle individual compensation to its citizens who suffered during Japan's colonial rule while rejecting Japan's proposal to directly compensate individual victims and receiving the whole amount of grants on the behalf of victims[6][7].

As the result, there have been growing calls for the government to compensate the victims since the disclosure of the documents. 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" [8].

Japanese officials had reportedly not been in favor of the South Korean government disclosing the documents because they were concerned about repercussions the disclosure of such diplomatic documents would have on bilateral normalizations talks with North Korea, who reportedly wants more than $10 billion as compensation for its share [9]. Japan has generally refused to pay damages to individuals, saying it settled the issue on a government-to-government basis under the 1965 agreement.

The 1965 Treaty of Basic Relations between Japan and South Korea also declared that: