Between late 19th century and Early 20th century was the time when world was begging to merge economically and politically; Massive world trade and money standard based on foreign Currency were becoming generalized. During this period Japanese, especially Meiji leaders feared that Japan would be behind from the world unless they rebuilt their society. .
In order for them to cross their annoyance, Japan needed advantages over other countries and so, they break out wars, which brought them to a new start. After defeating Russia and china, Japan had regained its confident. Moreover, as results of victories in the wars, Japan ranked itself as first-class nation and befitted its new status. During this period, Japan made very clear its expansionist intentions and established a protectorate over Korea.
Japan held Korea tightly, intervening in the economy, spawning new industries and etc. However, although it seems like Japan had made exploitative act toward Korea by ranking them as second-class citizens and Japan having prerogative rights over Korea, economy in Korea at the time was incredible. Japan so call, modernizing Korea by Building railways, installing factories and blossoming new opportunities tremendously helped Korea economically.
It is extremely difficult to weigh whether it was the modernization or the Exploitation that Japan had act toward Korea. It is indeed that Japan had restrained Korea in some sense; however, it is undiable that Japan has made some positive accomplishment to Korea. Politically speaking, I would have to say Exploitation. Economically speaking, I would have to say Modernization. History itself is really hard to conclude in one answer simply because were just reading out of the book instead of actually seeing and experiencing it. So therefore, my answer is NEUTRAL. .