The Japan-Korea Protocol of 1904 (日韓議定書)

The Japan and Korea Protocol was the treaty which was signed between Japan and the Korean Empire during the Russo-Japan War in 1904.

Summary

Envoy extraordinary and Minister of plenipotentiary of Japan (then Empire of Japan), Gonsuke HAYASHI and Minister of state for foreign affairs of Korea (then the Korean Empire, Joseon Dynasty), Yi Jiyong sealed the treaty in Hanseong (the present Seoul Special City).

There were some Articles which were advantageous to Japan, such as the right of the admonishment of the Korean administration and also the rights of visitation and expropriation; however, by contrast, it was not always a one-sided treaty because there were some Articles which didn't benefit Japan; the treaty said the Japanese government shall certainly guarantee the independence and territories of the Korean Imperial family Ri, the sovereign of Korea; nevertheless, the government had the one-sided obligation to defence of the Korean territories.

Background

The Korean government proclaimed that they would stand outside and keep neutrality against the war between Japan and Russia on January 21, 1904 and the Korean proclamation was approved by other foreign countries, such as Qing (now China), Britain, France and Germany.

On the other hand, the Japanese government ignored the Korean proclamation of neutrality by extending the Japanese troops to Incheon City; finally the troops got stationed in Hanseong and then the treaty was signed.

It is believed that the treaty aimed to secure the Japanese army's right-of-way through Korea, because Korea was located in an important point for the army to be supplied during the Russo-Japan War.

The primary contents

The primary contents of the signed treaty are as following.

The right of admonishing the administration
The Korean government shall accept the admonishment from the Japanese government in terms of the improving the administration of the Korean government.

Ensuring peace and security of the Imperial family of Korea
The Japanese government shall ensure peace and security of the Imperial family of Korea

Ensuring independence of Korea
The Japanese government shall certainly guarantee independence of Korea and security of its territories.

Japan's obligation of defence of the Korean territories
When the peace and security of the Imperial family of Korea is endangered due to invasion by a third country or to a domestic civil war, the Japanese government have the obligation to respond to the emergency immediately, and to arrange an efficient solution to the problem. The Korean government is responsible for meeting all the needs and requirements of the Japanese government in order to function efficiently in Korea. The Japanese government shall be allowed to expropriate some points of land in Korea, if they are necessary for the Japanese government's strategy in order to achieve their aims.

The obligation of complying with the treaty
Both countries shall not sign an agreement with a third county if the effect of the agreement is against this treaty, unless a mutual approval between the two countries, Japan and Korea, has been reached.