"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Statement by Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the 40th Anniversary of the Normalization of Diplomatic Ties between Japan and the Republic of Korea

[Date] December 18, 2005
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

1. On December 18, Japan and the Republic of Korea celebrated the 40th anniversary of the normalization of the diplomatic relations between the two countries. On this occasion, I would like to once again reflect on the significance and the importance of the friendly relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, which is one of the most important bilateral relations for Japan.

2. Forty years ago on December 18, 1965, the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea came into effect, and the diplomatic relations were normalized between the two countries. In that process leading up to the normalization were the sincerity and efforts of our predecessors in both countries wishing earnestly for the development of a friendly and cooperative relationship between Japan and the ROK. In these 40 years, dialogue and exchanges as well as cooperation on the private level between the two countries have made a great breakthrough. At the time of the normalization, the number of visits between the two countries was about 10,000 a year. Today, more than 10,000 people a day travel between the two countries. The "Korean style boom" in recent years symbolizes the keen interest and understanding of the Japanese people on Korean culture. It is important for the governments and the peoples of both Japan and the ROK to think anew about the will and endeavor of their predecessors who made efforts for the diplomatic normalization and cooperate with each other for further development of the relationship between the two countries.

3. At the same time, Japan intends to sincerely respond to various issues related to the past from a humanitarian viewpoint, taking into account the fact that this year marks a milestone in various ways in the history of Japan-ROK relations in the modern period and also taking seriously the ROK nationals' sentiments concerning the history. In stepping up such efforts, I believe that the relationship of mutual understanding and trust to build a future-oriented Japan-ROK relationship will be even more strengthened.

4. Both Japan and the ROK, sharing the basic values of freedom and democracy and as important neighbors striving for peace and economic prosperity for their peoples through market economy, have fostered a relationship of mutual dependency in various fields, including politics, economy and security. I believe that tackling together the various common challenges, such as the formation of an East Asian community and the peaceful solution of North Korea's nuclear issue, and making further efforts to cooperate and coordinate for these goals will contribute to the stability and prosperity of the Asian region and of the international community.

5. It is also truly delightful to find that the cultural event "Japan-Korea Friendship Year 2005", that has been taking place throughout this year in commemoration of the 40th anniversary, has been successful. The two countries have been deepening mutual understanding and cooperation in extensive fields of cultural exchange. Valuing such accomplishments, I intend to continue making efforts for further development of the relationship between the two countries under the slogan "Together! Toward the Future, Into the World".