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S.Korea discloses sensitive documents

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Sensitive documents about an agreement with Japan, which South Korea declassified Monday, may expose the government to lawsuits from South Korean war victims.

The 1,200 pages of documents show that South Korea agreed never to make further compensation demands, either at the government or individual level, after receiving $800 million in grants and soft loans from Japan as compensation for its 1910-45 colonial rule.

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The documents were drawn up in 1963-65, the final years of South Korea's 14-year normalization talks with its former colonial ruler. The two neighbors established diplomatic ties in 1965 amid strong protests in South Korea.

Japan has generally refused to pay damages to individuals, saying it settled the issue on a government-to-government basis under the 1965 agreement. It is the first time that the clause in favor of Japan's demand has been officially confirmed by South Korea.

South Korean war victims are expected use the document to take legal action against the South Korean government.

The document may affect the normalization talks between Japan and North Korea. Pyongyang reportedly wants more than $10 billion as compensation.

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