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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kan Statement to Mark the Centennial Anniversary of Japan's Annexation of Korea 菅談話 내각총리대신 담화

Today is the centennial anniversary of Japan's annexation of Korea. Here is the full text of Prime Minister Kan Naoto's statement on August 10 to mark the 100th year of the start of colonization of Korea, in English, Japanese, and Korean, from the website of Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet. There are different evaluations of this statement, and comparisons with the "Murayama Statement" issued back in 1995 to commemorate the 50th year anniversary of the end of the war. I appreciate the fact that this statement was issued with reiteration of the Prime Minister's "feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology" for Korea and its people, and the fact that none of the members of the Kan Cabinet went to Yasukuni Shrine on August 15. At the same time, it is unfortunate that the statement was only issued for the Republic of Korea and ignored DPRK, and the statement seems to generally avoid the use of the subject of those colonial deeds. If somebody who does not know anything about the history reads the first paragraph, s/he may not be able to tell who colonized and oppressed Korea. It also avoided mentioning specific unresolved issues, such as military sex slavery and forced labour. (PeacePhilosopher)

Statement by Prime Minister Naoto Kan

10 August 2010
[Provisional Translation]

This year marks a significant juncture for the Japan-Republic of Korea relationship.
In August precisely one hundred years ago, the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty was concluded, making the beginning of the colonial rule of thirty six years. As demonstrated by strong resistance such as the Samil independence movement, the Korean people of that time was deprived of their country and culture, and their ethnic pride was deeply scarred by the colonial rule which was imposed against their will under the political and military circumstances.

I would like to face history with sincerity. I would like to have courage to squarely confront the facts of history and humility to accept them, as well as to be honest to reflect upon the errors of our own. Those who render pain tend to forget it while those who suffered cannot forget it easily. To the tremendous damage and sufferings that this colonial rule caused, I express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and my heartfelt apology.

Guided by such understanding, I will build a future-oriented Japan-Republic of Korea relationship by placing the next one hundred years to come in my prospect. I will continue in all sincerity conducting such humanitarian cooperation as the assistance to ethnic Koreans left in Sakhalin and the assistance in returning remains of the people from the Korean Peninsula. Moreover, in response to the expectations of the Korean people, I will transfer precious archives originated from the Korean Peninsula that were brought to Japan during the period of Japan's rule through the Governor-General of Korea and the Government of Japan possesses, such as the Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty.

Japan and the Republic of Korea, through active exchanges of cultures and peoples for over two thousand years, deeply share wonderful culture and tradition that are renowned to the world. In addition, the exchange between our two nations today is remarkably multi-layered and wide-ranging, as well as the affinity and friendship which the peoples of our two nations mutually embrace are stronger than ever. Furthermore, the scale of economic relations and people-to-people exchanges between our two nations has dramatically expanded since our relationship was normalized, and our ties have become extremely solid while both sides have been improving together by friendly rivalry.

Japan and the Republic of Korea have become the most important and closest neighboring nations now in this twenty-first century, sharing such values as democracy, freedom, and market economy. Our relationship is not confined to our bilateral relations, but rather it is a partnership where we cooperate and exercise leadership for the peace and prosperity of the region and the world by encompassing a broad spectrum of agenda: the peace and stability of this region envisioning, among others, the future establishment of an East Asia community, the growth and development of the world's economy, as well as issues of global scale such as nuclear disarmament, climate change, poverty and peace-building.

At this significant juncture of history, I strongly hope that our bond will become even more profound and solid between Japan and the Republic of Korea, and I declare my determination to make every ceaseless effort to open the future between our two nations.

Original Japanese Version









Korean Translation

내각총리대신 담화

2010년 8월10일

올해는 일한관계에 있어 큰 전환점이 되는 해입니다. 백년 전 바로 8월
일한병합조약이 체결되고, 그 후 36년에 이르는 식민지 지배가 시작되었습니다.
3・1독립운동 등의 격렬한 저항에서도 드러났듯이, 정치적 군사적 배경 하에
당시 한국인들은 그 뜻에 반한 식민지 지배로 인하여 나라와 문화를 빼앗기고
민족의 자긍심에 큰 상처를 입었습니다.

저는 역사에 대하여 성실히 임하고자 합니다. 역사적 사실을 직시하는 용기와
이를 받아들이는 겸허함을 가지고 자신의 잘못을 성찰하는 데 솔직하고자 합니다.
아픔을 준 측은 잊기 쉽고, 당한 측은 그것을 쉽게 잊을 수 없는 법입니다. 이
식민지 지배가 가져온 다대한 손해와 고통에 대하여, 이에 다시금 통절한 반성과
진심어린 사죄의 마음을 표명합니다.

이러한 인식 아래 앞으로의 백년을 내다보며 미래지향적인 일한관계를 구축해
나가겠습니다. 또 지금까지 실시해온 이른바 재사할린 한국인 지원, 한반도
출신자의 유골 봉환 지원과 같은 인도적인 협력을 앞으로도 성실히
실시하겠습니다. 그리고 일본의 통치기간에 조선총독부를 경유해서 들어와
일본정부가 보관하고 있는 조선왕조의궤 등 한반도에서 유래된 귀중한 도서를
한국인들의 기대에 부응하여 가까운 시일에 인도하고자 합니다.

일본과 한국은 2천년의 활발한 문화교류와 사람들의 왕래를 통해 세계에
자랑할 만한 훌륭한 문화와 전통을 깊이 공유하고 있습니다. 더욱이 오늘날의
양국교류는 매우 중층적이고 광범하며 다방면에 걸쳐 있어 양국 국민이 서로에게
느끼는 친근감과 우정은 일찍이 유례가 없을 만큼 강해졌습니다. 또한 양국의
경제관계와 인적교류 규모는 국교정상화 이래 비약적으로 확대되었고, 서로
절차탁마하면서 그 유대는 지극히 굳건해졌습니다.

일한양국은 지금 이 21세기에 민주주의와 자유, 시장경제 같은 가치를
공유하는 가장 중요하고 긴밀한 이웃나라가 되었습니다. 이는 양국관계에 그치지
않고 장래의 동아시아공동체 구축도 염두에 둔 이 지역의 평화와 안정,
세계경제의 성장과 발전, 그리고 핵군축과 기후변화, 빈곤과 평화구축 같은
범세계적인 과제에 이르기까지 지역과 세계의 평화와 번영을 위하여 폭넓게
협력하며 리더십을 발휘하는 동반자 관계입니다.

저는 이 큰 역사의 길목에서 일한양국의 유대가 보다 깊고 보다 견고해지기를
강력히 희구하는 동시에, 양국 간의 미래를 열어나가기 위하여 부단한 노력을
아끼지 않을 결심임을 표명합니다.


  1. but there was something in the JT the other day where he defended the "legality" of the annexation, if I recall, or at least the gov's position. The Japan Times had an article today, or editorial, criticizing that stance but not mentioning Kan or the gov specifically. Very confusing. Just like the Justice Minsiter not blocking
    an execution the other day yet claiming to be anti death penalty, when even an LDP JUSTICE Minister did not sign any death orders during his tenure. Lots of contradictions, not unlike the fact that Kan supports the AMPO treaty despite being a so-called former peace activist.

    Screw all pseudo progressive politicians is what I think.

  2. but there was something in the JT the other day where he defended the "legality" of the annexation, if I recall, or at least the gov's position. The Japan Times had an article today, or editorial, criticizing that stance but not mentioning Kan or the gov specifically. Very confusing. Just like the Justice Minsiter not blocking
    an execution the other day yet claiming to be anti death penalty, when even an LDP JUSTICE Minister did not sign any death orders during his tenure. Lots of contradictions, not unlike the fact that Kan supports the AMPO treaty despite being a so-called former peace activist.

    Screw all pseudo progressive politicians is what I think.


    S Koreans rally on Japanese colonial anniversary
    Monday 30th August, 07:39 AM JST

    SEOUL —
    Hundreds of South Koreans rallied against Japan on Sunday, the 100th anniversary of its annexation of the Korean peninsula, calling for a more sincere apology and compensation for past wrongdoing.

    About 1,000 activists and citizens gathered at a Seoul park to mark the day with songs and speeches. Later, about 200 protesters braved heavy rains to rally in front of the Japanese Embassy, waving the South Korean flag and chanting “Apologize! Apologize!”

    Some of the protesters scuffled with police, who blocked them from approaching the embassy, but there were no reports of injuries.

    The colonial period began on Aug 29, 1910, and ended with Japan’s defeat in World War II in 1945. The peninsula was later divided into separately governed regions, resulting in the communist North and capitalist South.

    “We urge Japan to comprehensively address the unfortunate history between South Korea and Japan within this year,” said Yang Soon-im, a leader of the activists.

    At the rally in the Seoul park, Kim Young-il, president of an association of former independence fighters and their descendants, said in a speech that Japan should apologize more sincerely for the annexation and compensate its victims.

    Many older Koreans still harbor strong resentment against Japan over the colonization. Hundreds of thousands of Koreans were forced to fight as front-line soldiers, work in slave-labor conditions or serve as prostitutes in brothels operated by the Japanese military.

    Earlier this month, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan offered a renewed apology for the suffering caused by the colonization. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak later said that Seoul and Tokyo should never forget history but should also work together to develop a new future.

    North Korea issued a lengthy statement Sunday demanding Japan not attempt to whitewash its colonial wrongdoing, return all Korean cultural artifacts it took in the past and abandon its “hostile” policy against Pyongyang.

    Japan has a long history of discord with North Korea, which has admitted kidnapping Japanese citizens in the past and has conducted long-range rocket tests over the main Japanese island. Japan and North Korea have no diplomatic ties.


    Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010

    The annexation of Korea
    On Aug. 29, 100 years ago, the treaty annexing Korea to Japan was promulgated, a week after its signing. It was not a treaty between equal partners. The 1905 Korea-Japan Convention had already made Korea a protectorate of Japan. Under the annexation treaty, the Korean emperor handed sovereign power over his country to the Japanese emperor "completely and forever." Thus Korea became a colony of Japan.

    The government general of Korea, set up to rule colonial Korea, was an unusual entity. Its head (governor general) was a Japanese general or admiral under the direct control of the Japanese emperor — the sovereign of the Japanese empire.

    An unfortunate fact about the Japan-Korea relationship after the Meiji Restoration is that Japan emulated the United States' "black ship diplomacy." To open Korea for trade with Japan, Japan sent seven naval and nonmilitary vessels in 1876 and forced an unequal treaty on Korea — as the U.S. and other Western powers had done to Japan — to make that country open two ports, with extraterritorial jurisdiction provided for Japanese.

    There is the view that Japan's 35 years of colonial rule improved Korea's infrastructure, education, agriculture, other industries and economic institutions, and thus helped Korea modernize. But one should not forget the discrimination and sufferings that the Korean people experienced under colonial rule. These days many Japanese visit South Korea as tourists, and economic ties between that country and Japan are strong. But unless Japanese learn some basic facts of modern history involving the two countries, solid future-oriented bilateral relations are unlikely.

  5. For example, if Japanese remember Hirofumi Ito only as Japan's first prime minister, they are being forgetful. He also served as the first Japanese resident general in the protectorate Korea. Japanese should know that Koreans regard An Chung Gun, who assassinated Ito in Harbin on Oct. 26, 1909, as a person who carried out a "noble undertaking."

    As one would expect, Koreans resisted Japan's strengthening its authority over Korea. The most conspicuous form of resistance was armed struggle. A Japanese military record, for example, indicates more than 2,800 incidents of armed struggle from August 1907 to the end of 1910. Nearly 17,700 Korean participants in the struggle were killed.

    Japan carried out a comprehensive land survey of Korea from 1910 to 1918 to establish property rights. Many farmers were forced to become tenant farmers because they could not produce documented proof that they owned their land.

    Although rice production increased, a sizable portion of the rice was shipped to Japan. A South Korean book says that during the Pacific War, 40 to 60 percent of Korea's total cereal crops were "plundered by Japanese imperialism."

    Perhaps the most thoughtless thing Japan did in Korea, which caused strong resentment among Koreans, was its attempt, after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945, to assimilate Koreans as true subjects of the Japanese empire. Schoolchildren were forced to make a pledge of allegiance to the Japanese empire and the emperor every morning. The same Japanese textbooks used in Japan — compiled by Japan's education ministry — came to be used also in Korea.

    In October 1942, the government-general of Korea suppressed an attempt by Korean intellectuals to compile a large Korean language dictionary with hangul (Korean alphabet). They were arrested on suspicion of violating the Peace Preservation Law — a notorious thought-control law for punishing those who had formed an organization to change Japanese polity and abolish private property. In 1940, Japan started pushing the use of Japanized names among Koreans. Local administrators applied various pressure, as the use of such names was regarded as the mark of being true subjects of the Japanese empire.

    Japan started accepting Korean volunteers into its army in 1938 and began conscription in 1944. It also carried out a large-scale mobilization of Koreans as wartime workers. Many Korean women also suffered as military sex slaves.

    Those who try to justify the annexation of Korea must not forget that Koreans have their own ethnic identity, history and culture. The nature of Japanese rule over Korea is symbolized by the fact that the government general of Korea in 1925 built the Chosen (Korean) Shrine — to enshrine Japan's Sun Goddess and the Emperor Meiji — in the Korean colonial capital Keijo (today's Seoul). The government general strived to build a shrine in every village and force worship there. Japan also failed to implement any laws in colonial Korea to protect people at the workplace even though such laws existed in Japan.

    If the Japanese are interested only in pop culture or in the tourist spots of South Korea, their understanding of Korea will be too narrow. By the same token, if Korean people fail to objectively look at how Japan has changed (or has not changed) since the prewar and wartime period, they will miss the opportunity to fully understand today's Japan.

  6. kimjunghoon8:54 pm