Thank you for visiting the home page of the ‘Korea University Asian Reconciliation and Cooperation Center‘ – ‘Waseda University International Reconciliation Studies Center‘ Joint Proposal for a Comprehensive Solution to Problems Originating in the Past History of Korea and Japan.
The following joint statement was promulgated on 31 July, 2019. We hope that all readers who agree with the aims of this proposal will send messages of support. Contact us here:
Joint Proposal for a Comprehensive Solution to Problems Originating in the Past History of Korea and Japan
1.The Necessity for a Joint Proposal
Conflict around historical issues is increasing between Japan and Korea and national sentiments between the two countries are deteriorating. Facing the seriousness of the present situation, the Korea University Asian Reconciliation and Cooperation Center and Waseda University International Reconciliation Studies Center have reached a common understanding. We recognize that allowing these present conditions to persist is undesirable both for those directly affected by history issues and for the future of our two countries. The agreement at the time of the 1965 treaties between Korea and Japan handled incidents that had occurred during Japan’s colonization of Korea and war mobilization of colonial subjects in a vague manner. History issues between Korea and Japan surfaced subsequently, when victims began to raise their voices in the late 1980s, during Korea’s democratization process. In order to overcome the present situation and to realize mutual prosperity and reconciliation between our two countries, we have created a joint proposal based on three principles. In the hope of fulfilling the responsibility of the academy to contribute positively to society, with this proposal, Korea University Asian Reconciliation and Cooperation Center and Waseda University International Reconciliation Studies Center are joining efforts to show the people of Korea and Japan a possible way out of the difficult present situation.
2. Three Principles for Resolution of the Issue
(1) Mutual prosperity of both peoples
(2) Joint responsibility for relief to victims of human rights abuses
(3) Forward-looking mutual understanding and moderation
3. Main Propositions of the Joint Proposal
- In order for both Korea and Japan to seek the needed policy solutions based on the principle of respect for the rights of Korean victims of wartime labor conscription (victims of forced conscription), a Korean-Japanese Joint Committee should be established, directly answering to both the Japanese Cabinet and Korean President, based on the recognition that the issues straddle questions of both international diplomacy and domestic politics (*see item 4 below for details).
- As long as the Korean-Japanese Joint Committee stands, plans for the sale of Japanese corporate assets in Korea and Japanese economic sanctions against Korea will be canceled. In addition, economic, cultural and civil society exchanges presently suspended between the two countries will be reopened as quickly as possible and efforts will be made to restrain excessive nationalism.
- To provide the most rapid relief to victims of human rights abuse, as an entirely provisional measure, Japan and Korea will found a joint fund soliciting contributions from Japanese and Korean corporations and citizens to provide compensation to Korean wartime labor conscripts (victims of forced labor) (*details provided in item 5 below).
4. Structure and Management of the Japanese-Korean Joint Committee
- The Japanese-Korean Joint Committee should be established as an independent committee under the direction of the Japanese Cabinet Office and the Korean President’s Office to perform the function of coordinating and developing a common proposal for the peoples of the two nations.
- It is desirable that the committee be constituted not only of government officials, legal experts, and scholars, but include civic activists and representatives of the victims of human rights abuse, as well as corporate representatives.
- The committee will welcome a wide range of proposals from citizens of both countries engaged in exchanges across various fields, and expand civic consensus through open and democratic deliberations.
- Through deliberations based on the three principles indicated in Section 2 above, the committee will not only propose policy solutions to individual history issues such as the question of Korean wartime labor conscripts (victims of forced labor), but will also discuss comprehensively the systematic framework for sustaining the reconciliation between Japan and Korea whenever history questions emerge in the future.
- Deliberations and management of the committee will be conducted on the basis of the following shared basic spirit and awareness: First, understanding fully that history issues affect the domestic politics and national sentiments of the partner country, members will restrain emotional reactions to one another; Second, deliberations will be conducted with the interests of the whole region in mind, including the mutual prosperity of both nations and the mutual effort to provide relief for victims of human rights abuse; Third, members will consciously work to foster a civic public sphere that promotes forward-looking citizen-level exchange across national boundaries. We hope that the work of the committee will contribute to the formation of common norms and models to face the new era against the background of a common East Asian history.
- The committee’s operative period will be three years, but in order to win the support of as many citizens as possible for the final results the committee prepares, the committee will actively engage in promoting its work and persuading the public. It is desirable that the final results be supported by the majority in both countries and ratified by both national assemblies.
5. Concerning Provisional Compensation*
- The committee will actively call on Japanese corporations for which Korean conscripts (victims of forced labor) worked and on Korean corporations that received benefits from the 1965 Treaty to contribute funds for providing “compensation” to Korean wartime labor conscripts (victims of forced labor). Funds will also be sought from citizens of both countries.
- This measure is entirely provisional, serving until after the joint committee has presented its conclusions and a new agreement has been reached between Japan and Korea through ratification in the national assemblies of both countries.
- In the event a reconciliation is achieved between Korean wartime labor conscripts (victims of forced labor) and Japanese corporations, this will be welcomed by both countries. It is hoped that this provisional fund will be dissolved in the process of a general reconciliation between Japan and Korea.*the word “compensation” is used here in the colloquial sense, without the intention of indicating any particular legal framework. Appropriate terminology will be discussed in the committee.
In order to realize our proposal, concurrent with this joint proposal announcement, Korea University Asian Conciliation and Cooperation Center and Waseda University International Reconciliation Studies Center seeks to gather the signatures and support of individuals, groups and institutions.
Park Hong-kyu, Director of Korea University Asian Reconciliation and Cooperation Center
Asano Toyomi, Director of Waseda University International Reconciliation Studies Center
31 July 2019