Seoul to air documents on Japan ties

Kyodo

South Korea will release five sets of diplomatic documents exchanged with Japan for the normalization of bilateral relations in 1965, Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Soo Hyuck said Tuesday.

“The (South Korean) government, in consultation with the country involved, has decided to actively disclose these documents to satisfy the people’s right to know and enhance transparency of the government’s administration,” Lee said.

The South Korean move is expected to prompt a series of reparation demands from more than 1 million individuals claiming to have suffered during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, including “comfort women” forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II.

The documents will be available for public perusal on microfilm starting Jan. 17, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

In 2002, a group of 99 people filed a lawsuit calling for the disclosure of 57 documents. The Seoul Administrative Court ordered the government in February to make five of them public.

The South Korean government had been refusing to do so. It was reported earlier this year that the reluctance was based on a Japanese request not to make public details of the diplomatic normalization before Japan could finalize talks to establish ties with North Korea.