Protectorate Treaty of 1904

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The Protectorate Treaty of 1904 (Japanese: 日韓議定書 Nikkan Giteisho; Hangul: 한일의정서 Hanil Uijeongseo), also referred to as the "First Japan-Korea Agreement", was signed between the Empires of Japan and Korea on 22 August 1904.

Following the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in February 1904, with Japan attacking Russian forces at Lushun and Inchon, the Korean peninsula, despite declaring itself neutral, became a battleground for the two combatants. Based on the strength of their forces in the country, Japan forced the Korean authorities to sign the "Korea-Japanese Agreement Letter" on 23 February 1904. This letter permitted Japan to use any facilities, at any time, on the Korean peninsula, to further its war strategies.[1]

At the same time, Japan began drawing up plans for the colonisation of Korea, which resulted in the First Korea-Japan Agreement being signed on 22 August 1904. Amongst the articles listed in the Agreement, the Korean government was required to employ a Japanese financial adviser, appointed by Japan. In addition, Korea was required to consult with, and receive approval from, the Japanese authorities before concluding any treaties with foreign governments.

This treaty was later stated as being "already null and void" in Article II of the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, which was signed on 22 June 1965.

Full Text of the Agreement

Protocol Signed Between Korea and Japan

22 August 1904

  • Article 1. For the purpose of maintaining a permanent and solid friendship between Korea and Japan and firmly establishing peace in the Far East, the Imperial Government of Korea shall place full confidence in the Imperial Government of Japan, and adopt the advice of the latter in regard to improvements in administration.
  • Article 2. The Imperial Government of Japan shall in spirit of firm friendship ensure the safety and repose of the Imperial House of Korea.
  • Article 3. The Imperial Government of Japan definitively guarantees the independence and territorial integrity of the Korean Empire.
  • Article 4. In case the welfare of the Imperial House of Korea or the territorial integrity of Korea is endangered by aggression of a third power or internal disturbances, the Imperial Government of Japan shall immediately take such necessary measures as circumstances require, and in such case the Imperial Government of Korea shall give full facilities to promote the action of the Imperial Japanese Government. The Imperial Government of Japan may, for the attainment of the above mentioned object, occupy when the circumstances require, such places as may be necessary from strategic points of view.
  • Article 5. The Governments of the two countries shall not in the future without mutual consent conclude with a third power such an arrangement as may be contrary to the principles of the present protocol.
  • Article 6. Details in connection with the present protocol shall be arranged as the circumstances may require between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Korea and the representative of the Empire of Japan.

Minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim
The 22nd day of the 8th month of the 8th year of Kwangmu

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
The 22nd day of the 8th month of the 38th year of Meiji[2]

See also