Japan - Korea
Chronology from Jan 2007 to Mar 2007
: Sixth round of the Six-Party Talks is held in Beijing.
: Japanese Cabinet says in a written statement that the Japanese government found no evidence that foreign women were forced to serve in army brothels.
: U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer describes “comfort women” as the victims of rape by the Japanese military during World War II.
: Japanese Navy Adm. Saito Takashi visits Seoul National Cemetery as part of a three-day trip at the invitation of South Korean counterpart, Gen. Kim Kwan-jin.
: Pyongyang criticizes Tokyo for not participating in energy assistance at the UN Conference on Disarmament.
: Japan’s NHK says that it will allow a private group to use a transmitting station for a shortwave radio service to send messages to Japanese abductees in North Korea.
: South Korea’s Kookmin Bank and Japan’s Mitsui Banking Corp. sign an agreement to cooperate in corporate banking services.
: Tokyo and Pyongyang hold the normalization talks for the first time in a year but fail to reach an agreement.
: Tokyo and Pyongyang hold a preparatory meeting before their normalization talks. Pyongyang envoys cancel the afternoon session.
: Seoul and Tokyo hold exclusive economic zone talks, but fail to reach an agreement.
: South Korean government criticizes PM Abe for denying Japan’s responsibility for the “comfort women” issue.
: FM Aso reiterates that Japan will not “even pay ¥1” to North Korea unless there is progress on the abduction issue.
: President Roh says Japan should refrain from glorifying or justifying its colonial history in his speech commemorating the 88th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisa protests Roh’s words as “a bit too sharp.”
: PM Abe says that there is no evidence or testimony that the Japanese military forced the so-called women to become sex slaves during World War II.
: South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province concludes a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s auto parts maker, DENSO.
: Joongang Ilbo reports a group of 11 South Koreans have filed a suit against the Japanese civilian group that runs Yasukuni Shrine and the Japanese government demanding the names of their relatives be removed from the shrine.
: PM Abe meets with five repatriated abductees and promises to continue pressuring North Korea over the abduction issue.
: Defense ministers of Japan and South Korea meet and decide to establish a hotline between Seoul and Tokyo to prevent clashes in the Sea of Japan/East Sea.
: Japan raises the interest rate from 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, the first increase since July 2006.
: Three victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery testify before the U.S. Congress.
: North Korean Foreign Ministry official says Pyongyang was displeased with Tokyo’s refusal to provide fuel aid as part of the Feb. 13 agreement of the Six-Party Talks.
: Six-Party Talks participants reach an agreement in which North Korea will be provided fuel oil and other incentives in exchange for disabling its nuclear development program. The Japanese government praises the deal but refuses to give any energy assistance to North Korea.
: FM Aso says that Japan will not provide direct energy aid but is ready to provide “indirect cooperation” for North Korea.
: U.S. Rep. Michael Honda introduces a bipartisan resolution in the U.S. House of Foreign Affairs Committee, calling for Japan to formally acknowledge and accept responsibility for sexually enslaving women during World War II.
: South Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy announces that the country posted a deficit of $25.3 billion with Japan last year.
: Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attend a film preview for “anata o wasurenai” keeping the promise they made five years ago to the parents whose son was killed on a subway track as he tried to rescue a drunken Japanese man.
: President Roh urges PM Abe not to visit Yasukuni Shrine since the South Korean public will use it as a yardstick in Japan-South Korean relations.
: FM Aso in his foreign policy speech at the 150-day regular Diet session stresses the need to cement the momentum for restoring ties with South Korea and China. He also confirms “pressure and dialogue” as Japan’s basic policy toward North Korea.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the Japanese government decided to repatriate the remains of 140 Korean soldiers and civilians who died in Japan during World War II.
: Korea Exchange Bank says that it has formed a partnership with Japan’s Resona Bank.
: PM Abe returns to Japan after his trip to four European countries, urging their support for further pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions and resolve the abduction issue.
: PM Abe indicates the trip to Pyongyang by Yamasaki Taku runs counter to sanctions Japan imposed prohibiting Japanese officials from traveling to North Korea.
: Japan Defense Agency is upgraded to the Ministry of Defense.
: South Korean daily Segye Ilbo reports that President Roh suggested changing the name of the Sea of Japan/East Sea into “Sea of Peace” or “Sea of Friendship” during his summit with Prime Minister Abe last year.