See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Economics

Negotiation files reinforce Japanese govt arguments against Seoul

Trade talks between the two sides have resulted in no movement.


Written by

Updated: August 6, 2019

Amid the accelerating deterioration of Japan-South Korea relations, the Japanese government is intensifying its arguments against the South Korean Supreme Court ruling involving former requisitioned workers that triggered the current situation.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry has cited records from negotiations between the two countries on the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Cooperation and insists that it is clear the ROK court ruling violates the bilateral agreement and contravenes international law.

The agreement, which was concluded in 1965, stipulates that the issue of compensation claims has been “completely and finally resolved.”

However, the South Korean Supreme Court ruled in October last year that the right for compensation for former requisitioned workers was not considered to be covered by the agreement, based mainly on the unfairness of Japanese colonial rule, and ordered a Japanese company to pay compensation.

As the South Korean government is not honoring the agreement and has also been increasingly critical of Japan’s measures to strengthen export controls, the Japanese Foreign Ministry decided to disclose on July 29 records from negotiations that clarify the position of the South Korean side at the time the agreement was reached.

According to the records, Seoul presented an eight-point outline of claims against Japan during negotiations. Repayment and compensation for the requisitioned South Korean workers were among some of the claims. All eight items were recognized in the agreement, providing the basis for the $300 million in grant aid paid by the Japanese government.

According to records from negotiations that took place on May 10, 1961, a South Korean representative said that it was only natural to demand substantial compensation for the mental and physical sufferings that were inflicted by forcible mobilization, in relation to compensation for damages incurred by requisitioned workers.

It is clear that South Korea has been seeking a way to justify claims for money that the ROK court ruled were not covered by the agreement.

The records also confirm Tokyo asked Seoul whether it would seek compensation for individual former requisitioned workers. Seoul replied that the claim would be made as a state and that it would make domestic payments to the extent necessary as a domestic measure.

In addition to the records of the negotiations, the Japanese Foreign Ministry has unveiled a translation of documents released by the South Korean government on the discussions of a joint committee between the public and private sectors, which was established in 2005 under the then Roh Moo-hyun administration. The committee had determined regarding the $300 million Japan paid under the agreement, that comprehensive consideration was given to the right of the claim to be made by the South Korean government as a state. It also determined that careful consideration was given to the fact that the funds were intended to resolve the issue of damages to compensate for the forced mobilization [of former requisitioned workers], among other issues.

In fact, the Roh administration concluded that it would be difficult to ask for additional compensation from Japan, and provided additional assistance to former requisitioned workers on behalf of the South Korean government.

At the time, President Moon Jae-in was a civil affairs secretary of the Blue House and a member of the committee.

The documents had been available in the past through information disclosure requests. However, the Foreign Ministry decided to publicize them to provide accurate information about the issue.

“The precedents of the International Court of Justice and other entities show that the history of the drafting of international treaties can be to a great extent referred to,” said a senior Foreign Ministry official.Speech



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Japan News
About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Economics

Hong Kong adds another dimension to US-China trade war

Hong Kong’s has become another consideration for Xi and Trump in their ongoing trade dispute. The United States and China have been embroiled in a trade war for almost two years with reciprocal tariffs and fiery rhetoric coming from both sides. Both economies have suffered and the world’s two largest economies both face the looming threat of recession. China, in addition to a tenuous economic situation is also facing more woes in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory that is self-governed. Protesters have taken to the streets in the island-territory after a proposed extradition law was publicly opposed. The protests have evolved beyond the initial grievances to long-held anxieties over the economy, living space and, ultimately, rule by Beijing. As the pro-democracy protests gather steam and threaten to become more widespread and violent, the United States has involved itself and ad


By Cod Satrusayang
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Moon urges Japan to choose ‘path of dialogue and cooperation’

Japan and South Korea have been locked in an increasingly ugly trade spat. President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that Seoul will cooperate with Tokyo if it retracts its recent trade restrictions, stressing the importance of international cooperation and free trade. “Within the realm of the international division of labor, if any country weaponizes a sector where it has a comparative advantage, the peaceful free trade order will inevitably suffer damages,” Moon said in his Liberation Day speech. “Better late than never. If Japan chooses the path of dialogue and cooperation, we will gladly join hands. We will strive with Japan to create an East


By The Korea Herald
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

China will quell Hong Kong protests that show signs of terrorism: Chinese ambassador to UK

China has previously said that the protests have bordered on terrorism. China will use its power to quell Hong Kong protests if the situation deteriorates further after some protesters have shown signs of terrorism, China’s ambassador to London said on Thursday (Aug 15). “Should the situation in Hong Kong deteriorate further… the central government will not sit on its hands and watch,” Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told reporters at a news conference in London. “We have enough solutions and enough power within the limits of (the) Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly,” Mr Liu said. “Their moves are severe and violent offences, and already shows signs of terrorism.” He added: “The central gove


By The Straits Times
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

UNSC to hold ‘closed door’ meeting on India’s Kashmir move: Reports

The meeting will be held at Pakistan’s request. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will reportedly hold a “closed door” meeting to discuss India’s move to revoke Article 37, that had granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. UNSC President Joanna Wronecka told reporters on Wednesday said that they would discuss “the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on August 16”, according to media reports. The development comes after Pakistan wrote a formal letter to the UNSC president calling for an emergency meeting of the UNSC to discuss India’s move to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The letter was sent through Permanent Representative Maleha Lodhi to convene the meeting. “I have requested in the letter that a special meeting of the Security Council should be called to discuss those actions of India which we consider as illegal and aga


By The Statesman
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

China, the United States and the story of agriculture

China says the US responsible for its farmers’ woes. Editor’s Note: Last week the Commerce Ministry said Chinese enterprises have halted the purchase of US agricultural products following Washington’s threat to impose 10 percent tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow: Declining exports to hit US farmers The Chinese enterprises’ decision to suspend the purchase of US agricultural products, mainly soybean, dairy products, sorghum and pork, will deal a fresh blow to farmers and traders in the United States. The escalating trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies has slashed US exports of farm produce to China, which used to be the largest importer of US soybean. China imported $9.1 billion worth of US farm produce last year, down fr


By China Daily
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

India gauges international response to its Kashmir decision

Delhi’s unilateral move has been met with varying response from the international community. India’s decided earlier this month to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir state. The state will be bifurcated it into two union territories – Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh – which will be accountable directly to the federal government. Whether India likes it or not, its Kashmir decision has international ramifications and Modi’s government will be gauging them carefully. That is relatively good news for India’s Narendra Modi-led government which has staked much of its political capital on coming through on this long-promised move after winning a landslide second consecutive election in May. United States President Donald Trump said in a bland statement: “We are closely following the events in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. We take note of India’s a


By Ishan Joshi
August 15, 2019