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Historian: Japan Knew An Jung-geun Trial Was Illegal

Posted October. 19, 2009 05:01,   


An historian claimed yesterday that imperial Japan knew the illegitimacy of exercising its right to put on trial Koreans in Russia before an independence fighter’s assassination of the Japanese colonial governor of Korea in 1909.

An Jung-geun shot and killed Hirobumi Ito in Harbin, a city in present-day China that was under Russian rule at the time.

Shin Un-yong, a researcher at Great Korean, an association honoring the memory of An, said in his thesis that when a group of Koreans including Kim Jae-dong murdered Japanese nationals in Harbin in 1907, Japanese Foreign Minister Jutaro Komura ordered the Japanese consul general in the Russian city to apprehend the group.

Afterwards, Japan put them on trial and sentenced them to death, Shin said.

In a telegram to Korean Foreign Minister Tadasu Hayashi in 1908, Ito admitted that Japan should consult with the Korean government over the trials of overseas Koreans. Shin said this proves that Ito knew of the illegitimacy of Japan’s direct trials of Koreans in Russia.

Under international law at the time, Russia should have had jurisdiction over their trials because the murder occurred in Russian territory, he added, and that Russia had to consult with Korea on whether to hand over the suspects to Japan.

Shin said Japan illegally took jurisdiction over them for convenience sake.

After An assassinated Ito, Japan also tried him and sentenced him to death, citing the precedent of Kim Jae-dong’s case.