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A Series of Compensation Damages for Japanese Rule Likely to Increase Dramatically

A Series of Compensation Damages for Japanese Rule Likely to Increase Dramatically

Posted December. 28, 2004 22:41,   


Five documents (over 1,200 pages) of the 1965 Korea-Japan Agreement will be made public on January 17, 2005. The documents are regarding compensation demands for victims of Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula.

The South Korean government has decided to set up an additional team in preparedness for a series of public resentment and compensation demands from the relatives of victims. Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo-hyuck announced the decision of the government in a briefing held at the Central Government Complex Annex.

"Making the documents public was decided by the ruling of the Seoul Administrative Court in February, but it has been pending in Seoul High Court since the government appealed. However, the government has decided to make them public in order to fulfill the people`s right to know and to improve the government`s administrative transparency regardless of the ruling,” said Lee.

Before deciding the disclosure, the Korean government is reported to have secretly sent Lee last month to Japan for negotiations with high-ranking officials from the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

It is known that Japan well understood that the South Korean government would make public the documents of the 1965 Korea-Japan Agreement according to the procedure of domestic law. However, Japan was worried the disclosure would spread to the argument over original faults with the agreement or Japan’s responsibility for compensation.

Therefore, during his visit to Japan, Lee explained that the thorough scrutiny found no controversial matters that could harm the relationship between the two nations.

According to the document, the Japanese government expressed that it would like to conduct individual investigations into each victim and then provide compensation damages with them, but the representative of the South Korean government said that it would be better for the government to receive them collectively.

This is highly likely to prompt plenty of compensation requests from the bereaved families of victims during Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean peninsula. They are expected to claim that they could not receive enough compensation from Japan because of the Korean government, and it is also highly possible that they will insist on reopening negotiations with Japan.

In this regard, in order to deal with such claims, the government is reported to have mapped out comprehensive counter plans that could analyze the adequacy of those arguments, and also the possibility for additional compensation damages.

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com