If we go through the pages in the past history of humankind, there is a record of criminal outrages of aggressor who recklessly bargained and trampled over the sacred territory of other country and the prestige and sovereignty of the nation in broad daylight. That is the heinous “Katsura-Taft Agreement.”
As long as 115 years have passed since, yet this illegal aggression document remains in the hearts of our people as a painful and bloody wound of history and as a bitterly felt grudge, and we can never forget this day, whatever the passage of time and the change of generations.
At the secret talk held in Tokyo on July 29, 1905 between Katsura, the then Japanese Prime Minister and Taft, U.S. Secretary of War, “Katsura-Taft Agreement” was fabricated in a form of exchange of note verbale, in which Japan was guaranteed the suzerainty over Korea in return for its support for occupation of the Philippines by the U.S.
Owing to the fabricated “Agreement”, the Japanese imperialists gained from the European and American powers the rights to occupation and control of Korea, and they eventually occupied Korea by accelerating its illegal moves for aggression and occupation. And this opened the way for Japan to expand its aggression war against the Asian countries by using Korea as a forward deployed outpost.
It is the violation of state sovereignty and the gravest crime to be thoroughly settled through generations that the imperialists bargained over the territory of other country and the destiny of the nation – where the state sovereignty is expressly exercised – and even went to the length of fabricating an illegal and unjust document.
The contents of the clandestine “Agreement” which had been kept strictly confidential were laid bare 20 years later when the document was discovered in the archives of the U.S. State Department, but the Japanese imperialists totally obliterated all the traces of the document. This fact alone hardly fails to give a glimpse into the out-and-out unlawfulness and illegality of the document and the heinous degree of the gangster logic that ran through the document.
Based on this gangster document, the Japanese imperialists fabricated all sorts of unequal treaties by threatening and blackmailing the feudal government of Korea and instantly occupied our country, thus imposing the fate of colonial slavery and inflicting every kind of misery and hardship upon our people for over 40 years.
During the entire period of fascist colonial rule of the Japanese imperialists, the number of savagely butchered Koreans reached over 1 million, that of young and middle-aged Koreans drafted into the compulsory labour and military conscription exceeded 8.4 million, and more than 200,000 Korean women were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese Army, and the immeasurable amounts of natural resources and treasures were completely pillaged and destroyed.
After their invasion of Korea, the Japanese imperialists attempted to assimilate the Korean nation by legalizing the change of the Korean names into the Japanese one and the pursuit of education in Japanese language while spreading the nonsense that “Korea and Japan are one” and “Koreans and Japanese are of the same ancestors.” They also marked our country as Japanese territory on the world map and manoeuvred to obliterate all the historical records and relics of Korea. All these are clear evidence that the Japanese invasion of Korea is not a simple occupation of territory but the gravest and unprecedented crime against humanity committed with the purpose of devastating the nation, history, culture and everything else on this land and converting the Korean territory into its permanent land.
It is really hard to see such a ruthless, vicious, and shameless aggressor as the Japanese imperialists when we examine the colonial rules of all previous aggression states recorded in the history of humankind and analyse the craftiness and brutality of the aggression method. The unparalleled crimes committed by the Japanese imperialists against our people can never be buried into the oblivion of history but should surely be settled.
Nevertheless, Japan would not heed the lessons of history but rather is working out wartime laws designed for reinvasion such as “Security Law” with a scheme to revive the spectre of “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.” It is also demonstrating its shameless conduct by claiming its dominium over Tok Islets, our sacred territory.
Thorough apology and reparations should be a must for the gravest crimes committed by the Japanese imperialists against our people, without being bound by the passage of time. This is the firm stand and the will of our people to address the crimes of Japan.
As long as Japan turns its face away from liquidating its past and clings to its consistent attempt to distort the history, unwilling to put a final stop to its past evil practice of engrossing itself in aggression, all of which will only add to its past crimes, it will never be able to get rid of its disgrace of the history, nor get freed from its catastrophic fate. Japan should bear this sharply in its mind and behave with discretion for the sake of its future.
Absence of sincere apology and self-examination in respect of its past crimes will never sustain Japan in honour and virtue.
Kim Jong Hyok,
Researcher of Institute for Studies of Japan,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea