Japan-Republic of Korea Joint Declaration
A New Japan-Republic of Korea Partnership towards the Twenty-first Century
8 October 1998
(Provisional Translation by the Japanese Government)
President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea and Mrs. Kim paid an official visit to Japan as State Guests from 7 October 1998 to 10 October 1998. During his stay in Japan, President Kim Dae Jung held a meeting with Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi of Japan. The two leaders conducted an overall review of past relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, reaffirmed the current friendly and cooperative relations, and exchanged views on how the relations between the two countries should be in the future.
As a result of the meeting, the two leaders declared their common determination to raise to a higher dimension the close, friendly and cooperative relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea which have been built since the normalization of their relations in 1965 so as to build a new Japan-Republic of Korea partnership towards the twenty-first century.
The two leaders shared the view that in order for Japan and the Republic of Korea to build solid, good-neighborly and friendly relations in the twenty-first century, it was important that both countries squarely face the past and develop relations based on mutual understanding and trust.
Looking back on the relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea during this century, Prime Minister Obuchi regarded in a spirit of humility the fact of history that Japan caused, during a certain period in the past, tremendous damage and suffering to the people of the Republic of Korea through its colonial rule, and expressed his deep remorse and heartfelt apology for this fact.
President Kim accepted with sincerity this statement of Prime Minister Obuchi's recognition of history and expressed his appreciation for it. He also expressed his view that the present calls upon both countries to overcome their unfortunate history and to build a future-oriented relationship based on reconciliation as well as good-neighborly and friendly cooperation.
Further, both leaders shared the view that it was important that the peoples of both countries, the young generation in particular, deepen their understanding of history, and stressed the need to devote much attention and effort to that end.
The two leaders shared the recognition that Japan and the Republic of Korea, which have maintained exchanges and cooperation throughout a long history, have developed close, friendly and cooperative relations in various areas since the normalization of their relations in 1965, and that such cooperative relations have contributed to the development of both countries. Prime Minister Obuchi expressed his admiration for the Republic of Korea which, through the untiring efforts of its people, has achieved dramatic development and democratization and has grown into a prosperous and mature democratic state. President Kim highly appreciated the role that Japan has played for the peace and prosperity of the international community through it security policies, foremost its exclusively defense-oriented policy and three non-nuclear principles under the postwar Japanese Peace Constitution, its contributions to the global economy and its economic assistance to developing countries, and other means. Both leaders expressed their determination that Japan and the Republic of Korea further develop their cooperative relationship founded on such universal principles as freedom, democracy and the market economy, based on broad exchanges and mutual understanding between their peoples.
The two leaders shared the view that there was a need to enhance the relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea in a wide range of areas to a balanced cooperative relationship of a higher dimension, including in the political, security and economic areas as well as in personnel and cultural exchanges. They also shared the view that it was extremely important to advance the partnership between the two countries, not only in the bilateral dimension but also for the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the international community as a whole, and in exploring in various ways to achieve a society in which individual human rights are better respected, and a more comfortable global environment.
In order to bring the relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea in the twentieth century to a fitting conclusion as well as to build and develop the partnership between the two countries as a common goal based on true mutual understanding and cooperation, the two leaders therefore concurred on the following. They formulated the action plan annexed to this Joint Declaration in order to give concrete form to this partnership.
The two leaders decided that the Ministers for Foreign of Affairs of their countries would serve as the overall supervisors of this Japan-Republic of Korea partnership and that their Governments would review regularly the state of progress in the cooperation based on it and strengthen the cooperation as necessary.
Both leaders shared the view that consultations and dialogue between the two countries should be further promoted in order to develop the present Japan-Republic of Korea relationship to a higher dimension.
Based on this view, the two leaders decided to maintain and strengthen the mutual visits and the close consultations between them, to conduct these visits and consultations regularly and to further enhance Minister-level consultations in various areas, in particular those between their Foreign Ministers. They also decided that a gathering of Ministers of the two countries would be held as soon as possible to provide an occasion for a free exchange of views among the concerned Ministers responsible for policy implementation. In addition, the two leaders expressed appreciation for the positive results of exchanges among parliamentarians of Japan and the Republic of Korea, and welcomed the positions of the Japan-Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea-Japan parliamentarian friendship leagues to expand their activities, and decided that they would encourage increased exchanges among young parliamentarians who will play a prominent role in the twenty-first century.
The two leaders shared the view that it was important for Japan and the Republic of Korea to cooperate on and to participate actively in international efforts to build a more peaceful and safer international order in the post-Cold War world. They shared the view that the role of the United Nations should be strengthened in order to respond more effectively to the challenges and tasks in the twenty-first century and that this could be achieved through strengthening the functions of the Security Council, increasing the efficiency of the United Nations Secretariat, ensuring a stable financial base, strengthening United Nations peace-keeping operations, cooperation for economic and social development in developing countries and other means.
Bearing these views in mind, President Kim Dae Jung expressed appreciation for Japan's contributions to and the Japanese role in the international community, including the United Nations, and expressed the expectation that these kinds of contributions and role will be increased in the future.
The two leaders also stressed the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation. In particular, they emphasized that all kinds of weapons of mass destruction and their proliferation posed a threat to the peace and security of the international community, and decided to further strengthen cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Korea in this field.
The two leaders welcomed the security dialogue as well as the defense exchanges at various levels between the two countries and decided to further strengthen them. The leaders also shared the view on the importance of both countries to steadfastly maintain their security arrangements with the United States while at the same time further strengthen efforts on multilateral dialogue for the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.
The two leaders shared the view that in order to achieve peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, it was extremely important that North Korea pursue reform and openness and take through dialogue a more constructive attitude. Prime Minister Obuchi expressed support for the policies of President Kim Dae Jung regarding North Korea under which the Republic of Korea is actively promoting reconciliation and cooperation while maintaining a solid security system. In this regard, both leaders shared the view that the implementation of the Agreement on Reconciliation, Nonaggression, Exchanges and Cooperation between the South and North, which entered into force in February 1992, and the smooth progress of the Four-Party Talks are desirable. Furthermore, both leaders confirmed the importance of maintaining the Agreed Framework signed in October 1994 between the United States of America and North Korea and the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) as the most realistic and effective mechanisms for preventing North Korea from advancing its nuclear program. In this connection, the two leaders shared the concern and regret expressed by the President of the United Nations Security Council on behalf of the Security Council over the recent missile launch by North Korea, as well as the view that, North Korea's missile development, if unchecked, would adversely affect the peace and security of Japan, the Republic of Korea and the entire Northeast Asian region.
The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of close coordination between the two countries in conducting their policies on North Korea, and shared the view that policy consultations at various levels should be strengthened.
The two leaders agreed that in order to maintain and develop the free and open international economic system and revive the Asian economy which is facing structural problems, it is important that Japan and the Republic of Korea further strengthen their mutual cooperative relations in the economic field in a balanced manner while each overcomes its respective economic difficulties. For this end, the two leaders shared the view that they would further strengthen bilateral economic policy consultations as well as to further promote policy coordination between the two countries at such multilateral fora as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
President Kim appreciated the economic assistance to the Republic of Korea from Japan in the past in a wide range of areas including finance, investment and technological transfer, and explained the efforts of the Republic of Korea to resolve its economic problems. Prime Minister Obuchi explained the various measures for reviving the Japanese economy and the economic assistance which Japan is providing to assist in overcoming the difficulties faced by Asian economies, and expressed Japan's intention to continue support for the efforts being made by the Republic of Korea to overcome its economic difficulties. Both leaders welcomed that a basic agreement was reached on loans from the Export-Import Bank of Japan to the Republic of Korea which properly utilizes the fiscal investment and loan program.
The two leaders sincerely welcomed that the negotiations on the new Japan-Republic of Korea fisheries agreement, which had been a major outstanding issue between the two countries, had reached basic agreement, and expressed the hope that under the new fishing order based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea in the area of fisheries would develop smoothly.
The two leaders also welcomed the signing of the new Japan-Republic of Korea Tax Convention.
They shared the common view that they would enhance cooperation and exchanges in various areas including trade and investment, industrial technology, science and technology, telecommunications and exchanges between governments, employers and workers, and to exchange information and views on their respective social welfare systems at an appropriate time in the future, bearing in mind the probable conclusion of a Japan-Republic of Korea Agreement on Social Security.
The two leaders shared the view that both Governments would cooperate closely on resolving various global issues which transcend national borders and which are becoming new threats to the security and welfare of the international community. They also shared the view that both countries would promote Japan-Republic of Korea environmental policy dialogue in order to strengthen their cooperation on various issues concerning the global environment, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and countermeasures against acid rain. They further shared the determination to promote bilateral coordination further on overseas assistance so as to strengthen their support for developing countries. In addition, the two leaders shared the view that both Governments would commence talks on concluding a Japan-Republic of Korea Extradition Treaty and further strengthen cooperation on countermeasures against international organized crime such as on illicit narcotics and stimulants.
Recognizing that the foundation for effectively advancing cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Korea in the areas mentioned above lies not only in intergovernmental exchanges but also in profound mutual understanding and diverse exchanges among the peoples of the two countries, the two leaders shared the view that they would expand cultural and personnel exchanges between the two countries.
The two leaders shared their determination to support cooperation between the peoples of Japan and the Republic of Korea for the success of the 2002 Soccer World Cup and to use the occasion of this event to further promote cultural and sports exchanges.
The two leaders decided to promote exchanges among various groups and region at various levels in the two societies, inter alia, researchers, teachers, journalists, civic circles and other diverse groups.
The two leaders decided to continue the ongoing measures to simplify visa requirements as a means to create a foundation on which to promote such exchanges and mutual understanding. The two leaders agreed that, in order to contribute to the expansion of exchanges and to the furthering of mutual understanding between Japan and the Republic of Korea, efforts would be made to enhance governmental programs for the exchange of students and youths including the introduction of such programs for junior and senior high school students, and that both Governments would introduce a working holiday program for youths of both countries from April 1999. Recognizing that Korean nationals residing in Japan could serve as a bridge for mutual exchanges and understanding between the peoples of Japan and the Republic of Korea, the two leaders also shared the determination to continue ongoing consultations between the two countries for the enhancement of their social status.
The two leaders highly appreciated the significance of intellectual exchanges between Japan and the Republic of Korea being conducted by the concerned individuals and groups such as the Japan-Republic of Korea Forum and the Japan-Republic of Korea Joint Committee to Promote Historical Research, and decided to continue support for such efforts.
President Kim Dae Jung conveyed his policy of opening the Republic of Korea to Japanese culture. Prime Minister Obuchi welcomed this policy as contributing to true, mutual understanding between the peoples of Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Prime Minister Obuchi and President Kim Dae Jung expressed their shared faith that the new Japan-Republic of Korea partnership towards the twenty-first century can be enhanced to an even higher dimension through the broad-based participation and untiring efforts of the peoples of the two countries. The two leaders called on the peoples of both countries to share the spirit of this Joint Declaration and to participate in joint efforts to build and develop a new Japan-Republic of Korea partnership.
Prime Minister of Japan
President of the Republic of Korea
Tokyo, 8 October 1998.
Back to Index