Japan - Korea
: South Korean FM Park announces intention to meet with forced labor victims.
: South Korean President Yoon calls Japan a “partner” to face common threats together during his Liberation Day’s speech.
: Japanese PM Kishida sends a ritual offering, instead of visiting himself, to Yasukuni shrine for the anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II.
: South Korean government-private consultative body to resolve the forced labor issue meets for the third time, with boycotts by legal representatives and victims’ support group.
: Yun Duk-min, new South Korean ambassador to Japan, calls for holding off the liquidation process, and warns of “great damage” to the South Korean economy.
: South Korean Supreme Court delays making a decision on the forced labor issue case for further deliberations.
: South Korea, Japan, and the US participate in a trilateral ballistic missile defense exercise during the broader multinational Pacific Dragon exercise in Hawaii. This was the first trilateral drill since 2017.
: South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers meet on sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A Japanese newspaper reports that South Korean side asked Japan to put Korea back on its whitelist and to remove the export controls on three chemicals.
: Legal representatives and supporters of forced labor victims criticize the South Korean foreign ministry’s written opinion to the Supreme Court.
: A Japanese poll shows that the Kishida Cabinet’s approval rating goes down to 51%, a record low since he came to office in October 2021.
: During a visit to Washington, Japanese FM Hayashi calls Japan-Korea and trilateral coordination “really indispensable.”
: South Korean foreign ministry files a written argument to the Supreme Court to explain its position on the forced labor issue and its efforts for a diplomatic solution with Japan.
: Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority approves Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO)’s final plan to begin discharging the wastewater next spring.
: South Korean FM Park meets Japanese PM Kishida in Tokyo, and relays President Yoon’s message to improve bilateral relations.
: South Korean FM Park visits Japan, and meets his counterpart, FM Hayashi. This was the first visit to Japan by a South Korean foreign minister since November 2019.
: Yun Duk-min, new South Korean ambassador to Japan, arrives in Tokyo to begin his posting. He is a fluent Japanese speaker, and calls the two neighbors “the most important partners that share strategic benefits” upon his arrival.
: Japan holds Upper House election. The ruling LDP-Komeito coalition increase their majority from 57 % of the seats to 60 %.
: Former Prime Minister of Japan Abe Shinzo is assassinated.
: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, South Korean FM Park, and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa hold trilateral meeting at the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
: Yoon government launches a government-private consultative body to look for a resolution to the forced labor issue.
: A support group for Korean victims of forced labor rejects a government proposal for a “subrogation payment” to resolve the forced labor issue with Japan.
: US Sresident Joe Biden, South Korean President Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio hold a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid.
: During a visit to the US, South Korean FM Park speaks about “normalizing” GSOMIA, the intelligence-sharing agreement between Korea and Japan.
: South Korean DM Lee expresses willingness to have a “serious dialogue” to work together with Japan during his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue.
: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and Japanese defense Minister Kishi Nobuo hold trilateral ministerial meeting at the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
: South Korean President Yoon announces the appointment of Yun Duk-min, the former chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, as ambassador to Japan.
: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong, and Japan’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Mori Takeo express commitment to advance trilateral cooperation and security ties to respond to the North Korean threat during a trilateral meeting in Seoul.
: Air service resumes between South Korea’s Gimhae International Airport in Busan and Japan’s Fukuoka after a two-year suspension due to the pandemic.
: South Korean Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Cho Seung-hwan announces Yoon government’s intention to keep the ban on Fukushima seafood import.
: South Korean foreign ministry says it will participate in the IAEA-led monitoring of the planned discharge of contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
: Japanese government announces it will exempt travelers arriving from South Korea from quarantines if they test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival. The exemption takes effect the next day.
: South Korean FM Park vows to build “future-oriented partnership” with Japan during his inauguration ceremony.
: Yoon Suk Yeol takes office as the 20th president of the Republic of Korea.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa attends Yoon’s inauguration, and also meets Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin.
: South Korea’s special delegation meets Prime Minister Kishida. He says “there is no time to waste in improving Japan-South Korea relations” and reiterates that “strategic cooperation between Japan and South Korea, and among Japan, the US and South Korea, is more necessary than ever.”
: South Korean special delegation meets Hayashi and Trade Minister Hagiuda Koichi and discusses bilateral issues and export controls.
: President-elect Yoon announces plans to send a special delegation to Japan from April 24-28 for policy consultations. The delegation will be led by five-term lawmaker and vice National Assembly Speaker Chung Jin-suk. This will be Yoon’s second special delegation, after the one that visited the US in early April.
: South Korean government officially approves plan to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This would become the second FTA with both Korea and Japan as members, after the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
: Japan announces additional sanctions against North Korea in response to its ICBM launch last week. The new sanctions target six North Koreans, three Russians and four Russian entities for their involvement in North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, subjecting them to an asset freeze.
: Kim Eun-hye, spokeswoman for President-elect Yoon reiterates that Yoon’s stance against Japan’s distortion of history remains unchanged, after some criticisms that he did not directly condemn the recent Japanese action to change some of their history textbooks.
: President-elect Yoon’s spokeswomen Kim clarifies that while the Yoon administration will seek stronger security cooperation with the US and Japan, it will not seek to hold trilateral combined military exercises.
: Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announces completion of textbook screenings for next year, with removal of words such as “wartime” and “forced” from some history textbooks. The South Korean foreign ministry protests the decision by summoning the deputy chief of mission of the Japanese embassy in Seoul Kumagai Naoki, calling it a distortion of history, a claim rejected by the Japanese.
: President-elect Yoon meets Japanese ambassador to South Korea Koichi Aiboshi and calls for Korea-Japan relations to improve in a “future-oriented way” and for it to be “urgently restored to a good relationship as before.”
: South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk and Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Funakoshi speak on the phone and call out North Korea’s firing of a ICBM for breaking its self-imposed moratorium on ICBM testing.
: Busan City Government releases a plan to prepare for Japan’s scheduled release of wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2023.
: US Special Envoy for North Korea Sung Kim, South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk and Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Funakoshi Takehiro hold trilateral phone talk to discuss recent North Korean provocations, including tests of an ICBM system.
: Prime Minister Kishida and President-elect Yoon speak on the phone for the first time since Yoon’s victory. They agreed on the importance of improving ties and resolving pending issues. Kishida is the second leader to speak with Yoon, after President Joe Biden.
: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio congratulates South Korean president-elect Yoon Seok-yul for his victory in the presidential election, saying that “healthy bilateral relations are indispensable.”
: South Korean President Moon Jae-in calls on Japan to “squarely face history” and “take leadership as an advanced nation” during a speech commemorating the March 1st Independence Movement.
: South Korea opens the National Memorial of the Korean Provisional Government, a new museum in Seoul dedicated to the history of the Korean Provisional Government.
: Seoul Central District Court dismisses damage lawsuits filed by two former Korean wartime force laborers against Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Kumagai Gumi Co. Each sought 100 million won ($83,800) in compensation. The court did not explain its ruling, but many believe it to be over the expiration of the statute of limitations, like previous rulings.
: South Korean FM Chung meets UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in Paris and expresses concerns over Japan’s nomination of the Sado mine to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
: Director-general for Asia and Pacific affairs at the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lee Sang-ryeol calls in the deputy chief of mission of the Japanese embassy in Seoul Naoki Kumagai to protest “Takeshima Day,” an annual event about the dispute islet that is attended by Japanese officials.
: South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi hold bilateral talks in Hawaii to discuss North Korea, shared history, and other bilateral issues. This is Hayashi’s first in-person bilateral meeting with Chung since he took office in October 2021. Chung, Hayashi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet for a trilateral meeting the same day, and call for North Korea to stop provocations and return to dialogue.
: US Special Envoy for North Korea Sung Kim, South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk, and Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Funakoshi Takehiro meet in Hawaii to discuss ways to restart dialogue with North Korea.
: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook, and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi hold trilateral phone talk to discuss the North Korean missile threat and trilateral cooperation.
: South Korea launches a government-private task force to respond to Japan’s nomination of the Sado mine to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
: South Korea’s Deputy Defense Minister Kim Man-ki, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ratner, and Japan’s Director General for Defense Policy Masuda Kazuo hold phone talks to discuss North Korea’s missile threat, reaffirm trilateral cooperation and reiterates plans to hold a trilateral defense ministerial in the future.
: South Korea’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae vows to respond to Japan’s nomination of the Sado mine in a “systematic and omnidirectional manner.” South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong lodges a protest during a phone call with Japanese foreign minister Hayashi, voicing his “deep disappointment” over Japan’s nomination.
: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, South Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun, and Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Mori Takeo hold trilateral phone call to discuss North Korea’s missile launches and denuclearization efforts.
: RCEP (the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) takes effect for South Korea. This 15-member free trade agreement is the first to have both South Kore and Japan as members.
: Japan’s Cabinet approves plan to submit the nomination of the mine on Sado Island to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Japan submits a letter of recommendation to the UNESCO World Heritage Center the same day.
: South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk and Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Funakoshi Takehiro hold bilateral phone talk to discuss North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile the same day.
: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio announces plans to nominate the mine on Sado Island for the 2023 UNESCO World Heritage designation. South Korea protests because of the mine’s ties to Korean forced labor during World War II, which may have included as many as 2,000 laborers.
: Japanese embassy in Seoul sends back the Lunar New Year gift box from South Korea’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, claiming the box contains an illustration that resembles the disputed islet of Dokdo/Takeshima.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs protests Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa’s remarks reiterating Japan’s claim to the disputed islet of Dokdo/Takeshima during a parliamentary speech.
: US Special Envoy for North Korea Sung Kim, South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk, and Director-General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Funakoshi Takehiro hold phone talks to discuss North Korea’s missile launch.
: South Korea’s Deputy Defense Minister Kim Man-ki, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner, and Japan’s Director General for Defense Policy Masuda Kazuo hold phone talks to discuss North Korea’s recent missile tests and reaffirm trilateral cooperation.
: Supreme Court of South Korea dismisses second appeal filed by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries against the forced sale of two of its patents to compensate forced labor victims.
: Yonhap reports South Korea conducted military drills near Dokdo/Takeshima a week earlier. In a phone call with a South Korean ministry official, Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Funakoshi Takehiro comments on the drills and says, “As Takeshima is clearly Japan’s inherent territory in light of historical facts and under international law, we cannot accept it.”
: During a Kyodo News interview, Prime Minister Kishida discusses 2015 bilateral “comfort women” agreement and says, “At least the promise between states must be kept, or any discussion from now on will be meaningless.”
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports 203 cases of Japanese fishery products sold in South Korea without identification of place of origin.
: US Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Jose Fernandez meets South Korean Second Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-moon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul.
: South Korea Minister of Finance Nam Hong-ki announces South Korea’s intent to pursue membership in the CPTPP.
: In talks with South Korea Foreign Minister Chung, Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa requests “appropriate response” from South Korea for forced labor and “comfort women” issues during informal dinner at G7 gathering in Liverpool, England.
: Around 100 Japanese politicians, vice ministers, and political aides visit Yasukuni Shrine. South Korea Ministry for Foreign Affairs issues statement expressing “deep regret and concern for the visit to Yasukuni Shrine, which beautifies the colonial invasion and war of aggression.”
: Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announces that IAEA will delay plans to visit Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant until 2022 due to the omicron variant.
: During a press conference following the 53rd annual Security Consultative meeting in Seoul, South Korea Defense Minister Suh Wook and US counterpart Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announce update to joint strategic planning guidance for wartime operations.
: During talks at the Seoul Foreign Correspondent’s Club, South Korea Democratic Party presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung says, “Japan has been provocative, claiming the territorial rights of Dokdo, and has not apologized for historical issues.”
: South Korea Minister of Trade Yeo Han-koo discusses supply chain resilience and Korean steel exports to the US during meeting with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai in Seoul.
: During an interview in Tokyo, Prime Minister Kishida says, “International agreements and promises must be fulfilled. I hope South Korea will take a positive approach.”
: During a press conference, Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu remarks on visit to Takeshima/Dokdo island by South Korea police chief and says, “We cannot accept this at all and regard it as extremely unfortunate, considering that they are clearly an inherent part of Japan’s territory in view of historical facts and international laws.”
: During a visit to Washington, South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun meets with US counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
: Commissioner-General of South Korea National Policy Agency Kim Chang-yong visits Dokdo/Takeshima island.
: Six officials from the IAEA arrive in Japan to discuss plan for release of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant treated water with Japanese officials.
: US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink meets South Korea Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Yeo Seung-bae to discuss supply chain issues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul.
: A monument for Koreans who died during World War II atomic bombing is erected at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. Japan notes that Koreans were mobilized as soldiers and laborers against their will. During unveiling ceremony, South Korean Ambassador Kang Chang-il says, “Today’s small step will go down in history as a model of joint efforts by South Korea and Japan and serve as a big step to contribute to founding the bastion of global peace.”
: “Comfort woman” survivor Lee Yong-soo advocates for pursuit of comfort women issue resolution through UN Committee Against Torture during discussion with South Korea’s Democratic Party Chairman Song Yuong-gil at the National Assembly.
: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, South Korean President Moon, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attend the 24th ASEAN Plus Three summit.
: South Korea Forest Service registers six plants native to the Takeshima/Dokdo islands on Dokdo Day. Korea Forest Service Director Choi Young-tae states, “By registering the endemic plant species of the Dokdo islets and Ulleung Island under an international organization on Dokdo Day, we hope to display strong sovereignty over Dokdo.”
: Fishing boat capsizes after an accident near Dokdo/Takeshima islands.
: South Korea Special Representative for Korean Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk meets US counterpart Sung Kim and Japanese counterpart Funakoshi Takehiro in Washington, DC.
: US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines meets with South Korean counterpart Park Jie-won and Japanese counterpart Takizawa Hiroaki in Seoul.
: During a tour of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Kishida tells reporters, “I felt strongly that the water issue is a crucial one that should not be pushed back.”
: Blue House presidential spokesperson Park states that during their first phone call, President Moon and Prime Minister Kishida discussed diplomatic solutions to forced labor, “comfort women,” and denuclearization of North Korea. Speaking to reporters, Kishida says, “Relations between Japan and South Korea continue to be in severe conditions.”
: South Korean Democratic Party chooses former governor of Gyeonggi Province Lee Jae-myung as its candidate for 2022 presidential election.
: In remarks aired by Japanese broadcasting company NHK, Prime Minister Kishida comments on his first phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping and says “Xi and I agreed to work together on various shared issues, including North Korea.”
: Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) reports that increased restrictions on sale of photoresists, hydrogen fluoride, and fluorinated polyimide sales from Japan to Korea had minimal impact on imports, however, overall trade between Japan and Korea has decreased.
: Blue House presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee reports that in a letter congratulating Prime Minister Kishida on his win, President Moon says he “looks forward to seeing the two countries communicate and cooperate to share the basic values of democracy and a market economy, setting an example of cooperation as neighboring countries that are closest geographically and culturally.”
: During a press conference, Prime Minister Kishida indicates willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “without preconditions.”
: Kishida Fumio is elected leader of Japans Liberal Democratic Party, becoming the new prime minister of Japan.
: During a press conference, Japanese FM Motegi says ruling ordering sale of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries assets is “a clear violation of international law.”
: During meeting in Vienna, IAEA Board of Governors elects South Korea as IAEA chair.
: South Korea Daejeon District Court orders sale of patents and copyrights of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for compensation of two wartime forced laborers.
: KCNA releases statement from Kim Yo-Jong regarding end-of-war declaration, stating North Korea’s “willingness to keep our close contacts with the south again and have constructive discussion with it about the restoration and development of the bilateral relations if it is careful about its future language and not hostile toward us.”
: Japanese FM Motegi meets South Korea counterpart Chung during the UN General Assembly.
: South Korea Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong meets Japanese counterpart Motegi Toshimitsu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during visit to the UN General Assembly.
: During speech at the UN General Assembly, President Moon says, “I once again urge the community of nations to mobilize its strengths for the end-of-war declaration on the Korean Peninsula and propose that the three parties—the two Koreas and the US—or the four parties —the two Koreas, the US and China — come together and declare that the war on the Korean Peninsula is over.”
: According to South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), North Korea fires two ballistic missiles. Three hours later, South Korea Agency for Defense Development conducts successful launch of domestic submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in the presence of President Moon Jae-in at Anheung Test Center.
: US Special Envoy for North Korea Sung Kim meets South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk and Japanese counterpart Funakoshi Takehiro in Tokyo.
: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports launch of missiles on Sept. 11 and Sept. 12.
: South Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs comments on publication of Japanese textbooks and states, “It is very regrettable that the Japanese government decided to dilute the extent of the coercion faced by comfort women and forced laborers in April, that textbook publishers applied for changes or the deletion of related expressions, and that the ministry recently approved the publication of the textbooks.”
: Seoul Central District Court issues ruling in lawsuit stating that Nippon Steel is not required to pay compensation to children of a World War II-era forced laborer.
: In a statement issued on its website, the International Olympic Committee announces suspension of North Korea Olympic Committee until the end of 2022 due to non-participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission arrives in Japan to help with preparations for release of treated water from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
: South Korea Ministry of National Defense publishes 2022-2026 Midterm Defense Plan.
: Seoul Central District Court orders Japan to disclose all assets in South Korea by March 21, 2022 in connection with asset seizure ruling for “comfort women” compensation.
: South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hwang Hee holds virtual trilateral talks with Japanese counterpart Koichi Hagiuda and Chinese counterpart Hu Heping to discuss cooperation during Covid-19 pandemic.
: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato says that liquification of Japanese assets “will be a very serious situation for Korea-Japan relations” and “should be avoided” in response to questions regarding seizure of Mitsubishi Heavy bonds.
: On the 76th anniversary of Korean independence from Japanese rule, President Moon states that his country always leaves the door open for dialogue with Japan.
: South Korean Foreign Ministry Director-General for Asian and Pacific Affairs Lee Sang-ryol summonsJapanese Deputy Chief of mission Naoki Kumagai to express disapproval of Japanese Defense Minister Kishi’s Yasukuni Shrine visit.
: South Korean Suwon District Court Anyang branch orders seizure of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries assets held by South Korean manufacturer LS Mtron valued at 850 million won ($725,000) in connection with forced labor compensation.
: Japanese newspaper Nikkei Shimbun reports that Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Soma has been recalled to Japan due to offensive remarks about President Moon.
: Gallup Korea opinion poll indicates that 66% of South Koreans have no interest in the Tokyo Summer Olympic games, and only 32% of South Koreans are interested.
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee adopts resolution indicating that the government of Japan has not provided sufficient acknowledgement of Korean forced labor victims at the information center for UNESCO World Heritage site Hashima (Gunkanjima) Island in Japan.
: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mori Takeo in Tokyo to discuss policy toward North Korea.
: South Korean Press Secretary Park Soo-hyun announces that President Moon will not attend the Tokyo Olympics and states, “As the Tokyo Olympics is a peaceful festival for all people around the world, we hope that Japan will host it safely and successfully.”
: South Korea Olympic committee states that banners referencing war between Korea and Japan that were deemed provocative by the International Olympic Committee have been removed from the Olympic village accommodation center after the IOC promised that Japanese rising sun flags will be banned from Olympic event areas.
: South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun summons Japanese Ambassador Aiboshi Koichi to express disapproval of remarks by Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Soma about South Korean President Moon.
: Deputy Chief of Mission at the Japanese embassy in South Korea Soma Hirohisa tells South Korean news reporter that “President Moon is masturbating himself” in response to a question regarding potential ROK–Japan summit during the Tokyo Olympics.
: Demonstrators gather for the 1,500th Wednesday protest of unresolved comfort woman issues outside of the prior location of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
: Japanese Ministry of Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi presents Defense of Japan 2021 White Paper to Japanese Cabinet. The White Paper refers to the Liancourt Rocks as “inherent parts of the territory of Japan.” During a press conference, South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Choi Young-sam says, “The government of the Republic of Korea strongly protests against the Japanese government’s reiteration of futile territorial claims over Dokdo.”
: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee releases a report noting deficiencies in the Tokyo Industrial Heritage Information Centre’s provision of information about forced labor at the UNESCO World Heritage site Hashima (Gunkanjima) Island in Japan.
: Citizen’s Gallery Sakae, announces temporary closure for duration of scheduled exhibit displaying comfort woman statue, “Statue of a Girl of Peace” in Nagoya.
: During a COVID-19-related press conference in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Suga addresses question about Japan–ROK summit during the Summer Olympics and says, it is “obvious that a respectful response should be accorded in diplomatic terms.”
: Exhibition opens at Citizen’s Gallery Sakae and includes the comfort woman statue, “Statue of a Girl of Peace” in Nagoya, Japan.
: South Korea’s National Assembly Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee passes unanimous resolution requesting that the government of Japan work with the International Atomic Energy Agency and South Korea to confirm safety of plan to release treated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant water into the Pacific Ocean.
: Korean Automobile Manufacturers Association report shows that in 2020, South Korea imported 46,000 US cars, surpassing Japanese car imports to become the second highest source of imported cars after Germany.
: Director-General of the Japanese Ministry of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Takehiro Funakoshi, South Korean Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Noh Kyu-duk, and US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during a trilateral meeting in Seoul.
: South Korean armed forces hold East Sea Territory Protection Exercise military drill near Liancourt Rocks. During a press conference, Japanese Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobo says, “This sort of drill is unacceptable and extremely regrettable.”
: Seoul Central District Court judge Nam Seong-woo orders government of Japan to disclose assets held in South Korea after Japanese government’s refusal to comply with court order to pay 100 million won in lawsuit filed by 12 “comfort women.”
: A petition filed with the Blue House seeking impeachment of Seoul District Court judge Kim Yang-ho after dismissal of forced labor lawsuit accrues more than 200,000 signatures.
: International Olympic Committee confirms that North Korea will not participate in the Summer Olympics for the first time in 33 years.
: Seoul District Court Judge Kim Yang-ho dismisses a lawsuit for compensation from 16 Japanese companies filed by 85 South Korean victims of forced labor.
: Korean President Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide have their first in-person discussion, during the G7 summit in London, since Suga entered office.
: Yomiuri Shimbun and Hankook Ilbo release survey showing that for the third year in a row more than 80% of respondents in Japan (81%) and South Korea (89%) indicate that ROK–Japan relations are “bad”; 69% of respondents in Japan indicated they could not trust South Korea and 80% of respondents in South Korea indicated they could not trust Japan.
: South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy reports that 15% of South Korean materials and components imports between January and April 2021 came from Japanese.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls in Japanese Deputy Ambassador Soma Hirohisa to express disapproval of the display of the Takeshima/Dokdo Islands as Japanese territory on the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee website.
: More than 60 South Korean organizations announce formation of Joint Action for Stopping the Ocean Release of Radioactive Water, a coalition advocating for withdrawal of Japan’s decision to discharge nuclear power plant water into the ocean during a press conference at the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Seoul office.
: South Korean Minister of Health and Welfare Kwon Deok-chul asks for an increase in COVID-19 vaccine production and a close examination of Japan’s plan to discharge Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant water into the ocean.
: During a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses denuclearization of North Korea, climate change, the pandemic, and the US–ROK alliance on Capitol Hill. Pelosi also expressed a desire for justice for comfort women victims.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses concern about the discharge of contaminated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant water in press statement.
: US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines meets with South Korean counterpart Park Jie-won and Japanese counterpart Takizawa Hiroaki in Tokyo. Park and Takizawa hold bilateral talks in Tokyo.
: FM Motegi, FM Chung, and Secretary Blinken hold trilateral talks at G7 summit.
: South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki solicits cooperation among South Korea, China, and Japan for regional economic recovery and mitigation of emerging risks during ASEAN +3 virtual meeting.
: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds separate bilateral talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong at the G7 summit in London.
: According to a Gallup Korea poll, President Moon’s approval rating dropped to 29%, the lowest since his inauguration. Respondents cited real estate policies, the handling of the pandemic, economy and people’s livelihood as reasons for the drop.
: Seoul Central District Court rejects a compensation claim against the Japanese government by 20 individuals including survivors of wartime sex slavery, citing sovereign immunity.
: During a roundtable meeting with media, US special climate envoy John Kerry responds to questions about US involvement in Japan’s release of contaminated water from the Fukushima plant. John Kerry says, “We don’t think it is appropriate for the US to jump into the process that’s already underway and where there are very clear rules and expectations.”
: President Biden and Prime Minister Suga hold an in-person summit meeting.
: Judge Kim Yang-ho issues ruling in Seoul Central District Court authorizing collection of the legal fees from the Japanese government for 12 plaintiffs that sued the Japanese government for compensation for wartime suffering as comfort women.
: South Korean presidential spokesperson Kang Min-seok says that “at a Blue House meeting the president ordered his aides to actively examine ways to bring Japan’s decision to release contaminated water from [the Fukushima] nuclear plant to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.”
: During a reception held after a credentials presenting ceremony, South Korean President Moon Jae-in tells Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Aiboshi Koichi that “Korea has extremely serious concerns over Japan’s decision to release contaminated water from the nuclear plant into the sea because our geographic location is the closest and the two countries share the sea.”
: In response to Japan’s decision to release the contaminated Fukushima plant water, South Korean DP Rep. Shin Dong-kun says “It is very disappointing that the United States, our [traditional] ally, sided with Japan.” Acting DP leader Rep. Do Jong-hwan says, “We denounce the Japanese government for making the decision without offering transparent information and a verification process.”
: During a press conference after a meeting at a Seoul government complex, head of Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination Koo Yun-cheol says “The Korean government expresses strong regret over the Japanese government’s decision to release contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean, and plans to take all necessary measures keeping the safety of our people as the top priority.”
: South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and US Acting Ambassador to Seoul Robert Rapson formally sign the 11th Special Measures Agreement six-year defense cost-sharing arrangement at the Seoul government complex.
: During a press briefing in Washington, DC White House spokesperson Jen Psaki says “We have a clear objective as it relates to North Korea, denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula” and “We are prepared to consider some form of diplomacy, if it’s going to lead us down the path toward denuclearization.”
: A report on North Korean Sports Ministry website DPRK Korea states that the North Korean Olympic Committee “decided not to participate in the 32nd Olympic Games in order to protect players from the world public health crisis caused by COVID-19.”
: South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong meets with Chinese counterpart Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Fujian Province to discuss bilateral relations.
: Blue House National Security Office Director Suh Hoon, Japan National Security Secretariat Secretary General Shigeru Kitamura, and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan hold trilateral talks at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
: UN Security Council committee on North Korea sanctions expert panel releases report indicating that “cyberactors linked to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to conduct operations against financial institutions and virtual currency exchange houses in 2020 to generate revenue to support its weapons of mass destruction.”
: Japan’s Ministry of Education authorizes 30 social studies textbooks for the 2022 school year which assert that the Takeshima/Dokdo and Senkaku/Diaoyu islands are a part of Japanese territory. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Choi Young-sam responds by saying, “we cannot help but deplore and strongly condemn the approval of the textbooks carrying ungrounded claims to Dokdo, which is clearly our indigenous territory historically, geographically and by international law.”
: North Korea launches two ballistic missiles into the sea near Japan. Prime Minister Suga calls an emergency meeting of the National Security Council and says that Japan will closely cooperate with the US, South Korea, and other countries.
: US Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Austin attend a US-ROK Foreign and Defense Ministerial (“2+2”) in Seoul. The meeting is hosted by the ROK’s Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and Minister of Defense Suh Wook.
: US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III attend the US–Japan Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) meeting in Tokyo. The meeting is hosted by Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Motegi Toshimitsu and Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi.
: Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff issue a statement saying that after a review of the pandemic and diplomatic efforts, the March US-South Korean joint military drills will be scaled down.
: During a ceremony for March 1 Independence Day, South Korean President Moon Jae-in says, “The [Olympic] Games scheduled for this year may serve as an opportunity for dialogue between South Korea and Japan, South and North Korea, North Korea and Japan, and North Korea and the United States.”
: In a statement, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy says that South Korean Minister of Trade Yoo Myung-hee will drop her bid to be World Trade Organization director-general.
: South Korea’s Bank of Korea announces that South Korea’s real gross domestic product fell by 1% in 2020, marking the lowest growth rate in 22 years.
: Asahi Shimbun survey shows that the approval rating for Suga’s cabinet went down to 33% from 65% when Suga took office in September 2020.
: Joseph Biden is inaugurated as president of the United States.
: At a New Year’s news conference South Korean President Moon Jae-in says, “The inauguration of the Biden administration would provide a turning point to newly start US-North Korea dialogue, South-North dialogue, to inherit the achievements that were made under the Trump administration.”
: Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide delivers his policy speech at the opening of the Lower House parliamentary session.
: Kang Chang-il, as South Korea’s new ambassador in Japan, signals South Korea’s willingness to mend ties in an interview with Japanese media, saying “President Moon Jae-in has a firm intention to rebuild South Korea-Japan relations and intensify cooperation with Japan.”
: Suga said that he would seek dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “without precondition” by taking advantage of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in July.
: South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said that South Korea will review membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Previously President Moon had, during his New Years’ Message, said South Korea would positively review joining the CPTPP.
: South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu talks on the phone. Motegi requests that Seoul “take appropriate measures immediately to correct the violation of international law.”
: In a phone call, Japanese Foreign Vice Minister Akiba Takeo speaks to South Korean ambassador to Japan Nam Gwan-pyo about the South Korean court ruling issued against the Japanese government and says, “The ruling is extremely regrettable and the Japanese government absolutely cannot accept it.”
: KCNA reports that during a speech to the Worker’s Party Congress, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expresses his determination to “place the state defense capabilities on a much higher level, and put forth goals for realizing it.”
: Seoul Central District Court issues ruling ordering the Japanese government to compensate 12 plaintiffs who are victims of wartime sex slavery.
: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convenes the Worker’s Party Congress in Pyongyang.
: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports that in a handwritten New Year’s card North Korean leader Kim Jong Un addresses the Korean people, offering thanks for their trust and support in the difficult times.
: Court in the South Korean city Daejeon completes process of serving notice to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries regarding asset seizure for compensation of forced labor victims.
: Governor’s Association of Korea issues a statement requesting that the Japanese government “immediately halt discussions to release the radioactive water from Fukushima.”
: South Korea declines Japanese government’s request to resume flights between Haneda in Tokyo and Gimpo in Seoul due to potential complications with quarantine efforts.
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs official tells reporters that South Korea “has the right to request information to determine whether Japan’s plans [to discharge radioactive water] are safe.”
: Leadership from South Korean and Japanese businesses discuss Japan-South Korea relations during the 52nd Korea-Japan Business Conference. During his keynote address, chairman of the Korea Peace Foundation Hong Seok-hyun says “we need to begin the process of historical reconciliation starting now, with the target of 2025.”
: President Moon Jae-in nominates Kang Chang-il as new ambassador to Japan.
: During a press conference at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, an embassy official discusses the discharge radioactive water and tells reporters that Tokyo “will come up with ways to adequately control and monitor the discharge and discuss them with neighboring countries.”
: ROK Representative Kim Jin-pyo says he was told in a meeting with a high-ranking Japanese official in Tokyo a week earlier that “if Chairman Kim has intentions to attend, a formal invitation could be made” to invite Kim Jong-un to the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
: International Hydrographic Organization Assembly adopts a proposal to label all seas with unique numerical codes instead of names.
: During a virtual summit for leaders of ASEAN nations, plus China, South Korea, and Japan, President Moon begins keynote speech by saying, “Honorable chair, excellences. In particular, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Prime Minister Suga of Japan.”
: ROK representative and head of Korea-Japan Parliamentarian’s Union Kim Jin-pyo and a seven-member delegation meet Japanese counterparts in Tokyo. At Narita International Airport, Representative Kim tells reporters “It is time for the leaders of the countries to meet to discuss the pending issues between Korea and Japan and make a political decision.”
: US President-elect Joe Biden talks with Suga and has first phone call with Moon.
: Park tells reporters in Tokyo “I conveyed to Prime Minister Suga President Moon Jae-in’s earnest greetings and intent to normalize Korea-Japan relations, and we had good discussions on the North Korea issue.”
: Environmental civic groups campaign against Japanese seafood near the Japanese embassy in Seoul due to Japan’s plan to discharge radioactive water into the ocean.
: South Korean Director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Park Jie-won meets with Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Nikai Toshihiro and other senior officials in Tokyo to talk about compensation of forced labor victims and export restrictions.
: South Korean Director of the Blue House National Security Office Suh Hoon meets Japanese counterpart Shigeru Kitamura and US counterpart Robert O’Brien by video. Blue House spokesman Kang Min-seok says “they shared their assessments on the latest affairs concerning the Korean Peninsula and discussed ways to engage North Korea to resume talks.”
: During a meeting with the House of Councilors Budget Committee, Suga responds to question regarding six-party talks during the Tokyo Summer Olympics and says “in diplomatic terms, it will be a very important opportunity.”
: Japan’s Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Shigeki Takizaki attends in-person meetings with South Korean counterpart Kim Jung-han and South Korean nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon in Seoul.
: The group Busan Women’s Action to Resolve the Japanese Military “Comfort Women” Issue holds a demonstration in front of Japanese Consulate in Busan to protest Japanese government request to remove comfort women statue in Berlin.
: In an address to the Japanese Diet, Suga refers to South Korea as “a very important neighboring country,” and says that the Japanese government will “strongly urge an appropriate response in line with Japan’s consistent position” on the forced labor issue.
: During a press conference at the National Assembly, Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong says “if the Japanese government pushes ahead with releasing contaminated water from Fukushima into the ocean, Jeju Island will take the lead in filing lawsuits in both the South Korean and Japanese courts and at international tribunals. Jeju Island and the Republic of Korea will not tolerate a single drop of contaminated water from Fukushima.”
: ROK Democratic Party Chairman Lee Nak-yon meets head of Japan-Korea parliamentary group Takeo Kawamura at the National Assembly in Seoul to discuss bilateral relations.
: Suga sends offering to Yasukuni Shrine to commemorate the Japanese autumn festival.
: Kyodo News reports that a Japanese government source states that Suga will not attend a trilateral summit between South Korea, China, and Japan without resolution to the South Korean Supreme Court decision to liquidate assets of Japanese companies Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
: In a press release, Mitte District Mayor Stephan von Dassel promises to review Berlin comfort women statue issue from South Korean and Japanese perspectives along with the district perspective prior to a decision regarding whether the statue will be removed.
: At a press conference, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu says “in order to respond to threats that are diversifying and complex, we will firmly work to strengthen our comprehensive missile deterrence capability.”
: Moon holds a special strategy session with top aides to discuss supporting the campaign of Yoo Myung-hee to be director general of the World Trade Organization.
: During a press briefing, South Korean spokesman Kim In-chul comments on Japan’s request to remove a comfort women statue near the Japanese embassy in Berlin and states that “the government stepping in to force its removal does not help resolve the problem at all. It also goes against the spirit of the sense of responsibility and self-reflection and apology that Japan has revealed itself.”
: South Korea and Japan agree to ease restrictions and exempt businesspeople from each country from a 14-day mandatory quarantine if they obtain documentation showing they have no health issues within 72 hours of travel.
: Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu requests removal of Berlin comfort woman statue during a call with German counterpart Heiko Maas and says the statue “goes against the position of the Japanese government.”
: After a meeting at the US Department of State with South Korean nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon, Deputy Secretary Biegun tells reporters “The United States and the Republic of Korea remain fully committed to diplomacy as a way to reach an enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula, to achieve denuclearization, to bring about a brighter future for all of the Korean people, and to bring about normalcy in the United States’ relationship with the DPRK.”
: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un apologizes for death of missing South Korean official saying he is “very sorry” about the unexpected and unfortunate situation.
: Suga and Moon hold their first phone call. After the call, Suga briefs Japanese reporters stating, “I told President Moon that we must not leave bilateral relations in the current serious state, such as the feud over the forced labor issue.” According to ROK presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok, “President Moon said the two countries should step up efforts based on a new attitude to resolve pending bilateral issues, including the forced labor issue.”
: South Korea’s Ministry of Defense issues statement saying that missing South Korean official may be in North Korea. It is later revealed that the North Korean side shot the official and burned his body.
: Moon delivers speech by video at the 75th UN General Assembly stating, “I hope that the UN and the international community provide support so that we can advance into an era of reconciliation and prosperity through the end-of-war declaration.”
: Blue House spokesman Kang Min-seok reports that Suga “expressed thanks for President Moon’s congratulatory letter and stressed that the two countries are important neighbors” in a letter sent to the South Korean president.
: Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo visits Yasukuni Shrine. ROK Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim In-chul reacts by expressing “deep concern and regret.”
: South Korea and the United States create the “Alliance Dialogue,” a new channel for dialogue between their high-level diplomats. After talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun tells reporters in Washington that “We agreed that Korea and the United States should continue cooperation and communication based on ironclad trust.”
: During the 10th East Asia Summit, ROK FM Kang seeks support from the international community for peace between the two Koreas, explaining that the government of South Korea is “making efforts to improve the livelihood of North Korean people and improve South-North relations through inter-Korean cooperation.”
: South Korean Foreign Ministry official tells reporters “We are making efforts to send out the message that it is crucial to bring back North Korea to dialogue” ahead of South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha’s participation in virtual meetings with the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit, and ASEAN Plus Three.
: Center for Strategic and International Studies reports that satellite imagery of North Korean shipyard indicates preparation for tests of medium-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
: Osaka International Peace Center allows families of Korean victims of wartime air raids to request listing of relatives by ethnic Korean names instead of Japanese names.
: Abe holds news conference to formally announce intention to resign and states he is “no longer in a condition to confidently respond to the mandate given to him by the public.”
: President Moon Jae-in says “The government is prepared to sit down with the Japanese government at any time” during the celebratory address of the anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s colonial occupation.
: Environment Minister Koizumi Shinjiro, Education Minister Hagiuda Koichi, State Minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories Eto Seiichi, and Internal Affairs Minister Takaichi Sanae visit Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II.
: National Archives of South Korea releases documents showing Japan’s mobilization of Korean girls and women into forced labor.
: Nippon Steel appeals Daegu court decision for seizure of assets.
: Daegu court serves notice to Nippon Steel that assets will be seized to compensate wartime forced labor victims.
: During a press conference Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Kim In-chul says “GSOMIA is something that can be terminated at any time.”
: During appearance on Yomiuri TV Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says Japanese government is “reviewing all responses to [liquidation]” if Korean court order for seizure of Nippon Steel assets proceeds as scheduled.
: WTO Dispute Settlement Body begins review of Japan’s export restrictions.
: During press briefing Suga responds to reports of a statue of a kneeling man, seemingly representing Abe, before a statue of a comfort woman at Korea Botanic Garden in Gangwon by saying, “If the reports are true, I believe this could decisively effect Korea-Japan relations.”
: Japan and South Korea takes part in multilateral anti-piracy drill by the European Union Naval Force Somalia in the Gold of Aden.
: Defense of Japan 2020 claims the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as Japanese territory. It also states that “North Korea is assessed to have already miniaturized nuclear weapons to fit ballistic missile warheads.”
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson calls for an immediate withdrawal of Japan’s claims over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Japanese Trade Minister Kajiyama Hiroshi says “It’s important that [the WTO director-general] be a person capable of exercising leadership in the COVID-19 response and WTO reform. In that respect, Japan wants to be definitively involved in the election process” during daily press briefing.
: High ranking Blue House official says, “It’s shameless for the Japanese government to attempt to obstruct President Moon Jae-in’s attendance at an event to which he was formally invited. This is unthinkable behavior from our neighbor.”
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide says “It’s very important to maintain the G7 framework” during daily press briefing.
: Jiji Press reports that Japan has started investigation into possible dumping of potassium carbonate by Korea.
: Kyodo News Agency reports that immediately after President Trump’s May announcement a senior Japanese official communicated to US that South Korea’s “diplomatic position on China and North Korea differs from the G7” and Japan “opposes South Korea’s participation” for this reason.
: Kono announces decision to abandon plans for Aegis Ashore missile defense system.
: South Korean government submits letter asking UNESCO to consider revoking World Heritage site registration for Hashima Island.
: Abe says, “We should renew our discussion of adequate deterrence we need, considering North Korea’s missile technology that has advanced since the time we introduced our missile defense systems.”
: Kono tells reporters that he has given instructions to suspend deployment of Aegis Ashore missile defense system.
: South Korea’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Tae-ho summons Japanese Ambassador Tomita Koji and protests omission of Korean forced labor victims in Industrial Heritage Information Center.
: Japan’s Industrial Heritage Information Center in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward opens to press.
: Japan Defense Minister Kono Taro meets with Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to discuss Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system.
: South Korea’s MOTIE says it will resume filing a WTO complaint over Japan’s export controls during press conference.
: Following the 2018 South Korean Supreme Court ruling, Daegu District Court releases a public notice to Nippon Steel with ruling to seize and liquidate company’s local assets.
: President Trump invites South Korea, Australia, India, and Russia to G-7 meeting on the ground that the current makeup of G7 nations is “a very outdated group of countries.”
: North Korean state media reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened a military meeting to discuss bolstering North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.
: The 2020 Diplomatic Bluebook of Japan says “South Korea continues to illegally occupy Takeshima with no basis whatsoever,” referring to Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs responds by saying, “We strongly protest the Japanese government’s reiteration of its unjustified territorial claims regarding Dokdo.”
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General of Asian and Pacific Affairs Kim Jung-han and Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General Takizaki Shigeki discuss Japan’s export controls on semiconductor materials, the South Korean Supreme Court’s ruling ordering compensation for victims of forced labor, and COVID-19 during a phone call.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) urges the Japanese government to clarify its stance about resolving white list issue and three products under export controls.
: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un makes first public appearance in 20 days amid health rumors.
: Abe said in a session of Parliament that he was aware of the reports on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s health conditions.
: Abe’s ritual tree offering to Yasukuni Shrine draws South Korean government protest expressing “deep disappointment and regret.”
: Moon and Abe join ASEAN+3 video summit on COVID-19.
: North Korea launches several projectiles suspected to be cruise missiles.
: Phone consultation takes place between Japanese Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Takizaki and South Korean Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon on North Korea.
: Video consultation between Japanese and South Korean foreign ministry director-generals, focused on COVID-19 and forced labor.
: North Korea launches two projectiles suspected to be short-range missiles into the East Sea/Sea of Japan.
: Japan decides to extend Korea entry restrictions another month. South Korea expresses regret and retains its measures as well.
: South Korea protests Japan’s authorization of middle school textbooks with claims to the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Motegi, Kang, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi hold a trilateral call on COVID-19. Simultaneously, Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akiba Takeo join weekly call regarding COVID-19 coordination with counterparts from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Vietnam.
: Korean, Japanese, and Chinese foreign ministries hold a director-general-level phone consultation among ROK, Japanese, and Chinese foreign ministries on COVID-19.
: South Korean and Japanese trade officials hold first meeting via videoconference regarding Japan’s export restrictions on South Korea. No breakthroughs are announced.
: Japan and South Korea begin enforcing their reciprocal travel restrictions.
: Kang summons Ambassador Tomita Koji and expresses deep regret over the Japanese government’s restrictions and calls for the prompt withdrawal of the measures.
: Japan announces it will tighten entry restrictions on arrivals from South Korea and China starting March 9 due to COVID-19 and suspend visa waiver programs for Koreans. South Korea responds by suspending its visa waiver program for Japan and the South Korean Foreign Ministry expresses “extreme regrets” over restrictions it described as “unreasonable, unscientific, and unfriendly.”
: North Korea launches two projectiles that appear to be short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan/East Sea. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says that the Japanese government has been coordinating with the United States and South Korea.
: Moon, in annual address on Korean Independence Movement Day, says “Japan is always our closest neighbor” while emphasizing the need to “squarely face the past.”
: Second bilateral meeting between Kang and Motegi, as well as a trilateral meeting with Pompeo, happen on the margins of the Munich Security Conference.
: A second dialogue takes place between Japanese Foreign Ministry Director-General Takizaki and South Korean Foreign Ministry Director-General Kim. Discussion includes pending bilateral issues as well as COVID-19.
: Abe’s speech before National Diet calls South Korea Japan’s “most important neighbor, sharing basic values and strategic interests,” but he adds that he “looks forward to keeping our promises from one country to another.”
: Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha meet bilaterally as well as trilaterally with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They reiterate existing positions and their desire to maintain momentum from the December summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Abe Shinzo.
: South Korean Foreign Ministry Director-General for Asian and Pacific Affairs Kim Jung-han meets Japanese Foreign Ministry Director-General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Takizaki Shigeki to discuss forced labor and other bilateral issues in advance of a Japan-South Korea foreign ministers’ meeting in San Francisco.
: Groups representing forced labor victims propose that Seoul and Tokyo set up a joint consultative body to resolve the issue.
: The US and South Korea fail to reach a deal on how to share costs for the US military presence in South Korea.
: Seoul and Tokyo hold talks in search for a breakthrough in the export restrictions.
: North Korea announce that it conducted “another crucial test” at Sohae long-range rocket site.
: Trilateral senior officials of Japan, South Korea, and China meet.
: Kang and Motegi meet on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Japan.
: Hours before the deadline, South Korea announces it will remain in GSOMIA conditionally.
: South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold a telephone conversation and discuss the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMNIA) and other issues.
: Japan’s Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Takizaki and his South Korean counterpart Kim meet and discuss bilateral issues, including the South Korean Supreme Court ruling on forced labor.
: US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper visits Seoul to urged South Korea to remain in GSOMIA.
: North Korea calls Abe an “idiot” and “villain” for his remarks on North Korea’s firing of missiles.
: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Abe meet briefly at ASEAN meeting in Bangkok.
: North Korea launches two projectiles into the East Sea/Sea of Japan.
: Former North Korean nuclear negotiator criticizes Washington for using “delaying tactics.”
: Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force conducts a deployment drill for its PAC-3.
: Japan protests to North Korea over a North Korean fishing boat’s collision with a Japanese patrol vessel.
: North Korea says it successfully test-fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile the day before.
: A group of Japanese physicians arrives in North Korea to investigate North Korea’s need for medical aid.
: Japan’s annual defense white paper released. South Korea protests Japan’s claim on Dokdo/Takeshima in the paper.
: Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Motegi Toshimitsu and South Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha hold a bilateral meeting.
: Takizaki, South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon, and US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun hold a trilateral consultation on the North Korean nuclear issue.
: South Korea’s Director-General for Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jung-han Kim and Japan’s Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Takizaki Shigeki meet in Tokyo and discuss issues including forced labor.
: North Korea’s ambassador for negotiations to normalize relations with Japan Song Il-ho tells a visiting delegation led by Kanemaru Shingo that Japan-North Korea relations had worsened.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced that Japan would no longer remain on its list of preferential trade partners. Vice Foreign Minister Lee meets with Japan-Korea Cultural Foundation.
: Abe says that he remains committed to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
: In a cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo replaces key personnel dealing with the abduction issue.
: South Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Tae-ho attends Korea-Japan Festival.
: South Korean opposition party leader Na Kyung-won calls the Moon administration’s GSOMIA decision a plot to divert South Korean people’s attention away from a scandal involving one of President Moon’s closest aides.
: South Korea notifies Japan that it will withdraw from the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). Deputy National Security Advisor Hyun Chong Kim says at a press briefing that Seoul “maintained close communications with the United States in the course of reviewing the conflict with Japan as well as GSOMIA.”
: US Department of Defense spokesperson says that “the Department of Defense expresses our strong concern and disappointment that the Moon Administration has withheld its renewal of the Republic of Korea’s General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan.”
: Foreign ministers of China, South Korea, and Japan meet in Beijing. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says that “While maintaining a constructive attitude, it is important [for Japan and South Korea] to find an appropriate solution through dialogue.”
: South Korea retaliates against Japan’s delisting of South Korea from their “whitelist” by delisting Japan from its own “whitelist.”
: President Moon’s Korean Independence Day speech strikes a more conciliatory tone toward Japan compared to his previous remarks.
: South Korea downgrades Japan from “most trusted status” to a newly established category, citing Tokyo’s violations of “basic principles of the international export control regime.”
: Japanese Defense Minister Iwaya Takeshi and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper agree that the General Security of Military Intelligence Agreement (GSOMIA) between Seoul and Tokyo should be maintained. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Marc Knapper highlights the importance of a constructive relationship between the allies in the face of challenges by North Korea, Russia, and China.
: Foreign Ministers Kono and Kang meet in Bangkok but produce little agreement on bilateral issues. Secretary of State Pompeo also meets trilaterally with Kang and Kono.
: Japanese and South Korean lawmakers meet to ease tension, with little result.
: Foreign Minister Kono summons South Korea’s Ambassador Nam Gwan-pyo in Tokyo after South Korea rejects Japan’s offer of third-party arbitration to settle the dispute over wartime labor reparations.
: President Trump mentions the Japan-South Korea economic dispute and offers to help ease tension.
: Japanese government calls on South Korea to agree to establish an arbitration board designed to address the results of South Korea’s Supreme Court ruling.
: Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha tells US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone conversation that Japan’s trade restrictions will harm South Korea’s economy and have an “undesirable” impact on trilateral cooperation among South Korea, Japan and the United States.”
: South Korea’s Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Hyun-chong makes an unscheduled visit to the US to discuss Japan’s trade restrictions.
: South Korean government halts discussion on joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in light of worsening relations with Japan and “domestic industrial conditions.”
: South Korea dissolves a Japanese-backed foundation that had been providing compensation for former “comfort women.”
: In an interview with Yomiuri TV, Prime Minister Abe states that a summit with South Korean President Moon would not happen due to a busy schedule.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposes the establishment of a fund by Japanese and Korean companies to compensate the plaintiffs. Foreign Minister Kono rejects South Korea’s proposal.
: Former Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio criticizes Abe and says Japan “should respect the South’s court ruling.”
: Defense ministers of Japan, South Korea, and the US meet and agree to cooperate closely toward the denuclearization of North Korea.
: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency calls Prime Minister Abe’s proposal for a summit with North Korea “brazen-faced.”
: South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and Japanese Defense Minister Iwaya Takeshi hold a closed-door meeting, the first since the radar lock-on incident.
: South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro meet on the sidelines of an OECD meeting.
: Japan’s Foreign Ministry announces that it is seeking an arbitration panel to help settle its dispute with South Korea over reparations for wartime forced laborers.
: South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon suggests Japan accept South Korea’s position on history to build future-oriented relations and expresses a desire for a summit at the G20 meeting in Osaka in June.
: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide and Vice President Mike Pence meet and agree that North Korea’s ballistic missile firing was regrettable, pledging to work closely together to address the issue.
: Senior defense officials of South Korea, Japan, and the US meet in Seoul for the 11th annual Defense Trilateral Talks to discuss North Korea’s military moves and denuclearization.
: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and US President Donald Trump talk by telephone and Abe shares that he would like to meet with Kim Jong Un without any preconditions.
: North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a summit meeting.
: Japan’s Diplomatic Bluebook drops the goal of maximizing pressure on North Korea, while describing its relations with Seoul as “very difficult” due to South Korea’s negative activities.
: Lawyers representing Korean plaintiffs against Japanese company Nachi-Fujikoshi say they seized the company’s assets in South Korea based on the court ruling.
: Japan and South Korea hold the working-level consultations in Seoul to discuss the court ruling on forced labor with no tangible outcome.
: Japan rescinds its annual motion to the UN condemning North Korea’s human rights record, “given U.S. efforts to end North Korea’s weapons program and other factors.”
: President Moon delivers a speech commemorating the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement, avoiding direct criticism of the Japanese government.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Japan and South Korea agreed to suspend all senior-level defense exchange programs for the first half of 2019.
: Funeral procession for Kim Bok-dong, leader of the “comfort women” protest movement, marches through Seoul and stops in front of the Japanese Embassy.
: Prime Minister Abe delivers his annual policy address during the regular session of Japan’s Diet. He does not mention Japan’s ties with South Korea.
: South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense releases photographic evidence to prove its claim. Tokyo challenges the claim.
: South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense lodges a complaint with Japan that a Japanese patrol aircraft flew at a low altitude near a South Korean warship.
: Japanese SDF patrol plane flies within close proximity of a South Korean naval vessel in the East China Sea. Japanese FM Kono and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha meet on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum to address the incident.
: South Korea’s Supreme Court upholds a compensation order against Nachi-Fujukoshi Corp. over forced labor.
: South Korean and Japanese military authorities hold working-level talks in Singapore to address their conflicting claims about Japan’s patrol aircraft’s low-altitude flyby and South Korea’s use of radar against it.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide expresses his regrets that President Moon’s remarks tries to shift South Korea’s responsibility to Japan. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry expresses a disappointment at Suga’s remark.
: Japan officially requests talks with the South Korean government to address the court ruling on forced laborers.
: President Moon Jae-in addresses the question of South Korean court ruling on forced labor in his New Year’s press conference, stating that the government “cannot involve itself in judicial decisions,” and urges Japan to “adopt a position of humility.”
: Japan’s Foreign Ministry lodges a protest with South Korean Ambassador to Tokyo Lee Su-hoon over the court ruling on forced laborers.
: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo appears on NHK’s “Sunday Debate” and expresses his deep regrets over South Korean plaintiffs seeking to seize Japanese companies’ assets.
: Foreign Ministers Kono and Kang discuss the forced labor issue and the radar lock dispute in a phone conversation.
: South Korea posts a video to refute Japan’s claim that South Korea’s warship locked its fire-control radar on Japan’s patrol aircraft.
: South Korea indicates it will release its own video regarding the naval incident.
: South Korea calls on Japan to apologize for Japanese patrol plane’s “menacing” flight near the South Korean warship.
: Prime Minister Abe calls the alleged radar lock a “dangerous act” in a TV interview and urges South Korea to take steps to prevent a recurrence of the incident.
: Japanese government releases a video filmed from the Japanese patrol aircraft involved in the Dec. 20 naval incident, seeking to prove its claim that the South Korean destroyer locked onto the aircraft with fire-control radar.
: Japanese and South Korean officials discuss the Dec. 20 naval incident and radar lock allegation in a working-level video conference.
: South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon meets Japan Foreign Ministry’s Director General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kanasugi Kenji in Seoul to discuss North Korea
: South Korean destroyer allegedly locks its targeting radar on a Japanese patrol aircraft, according to the Japanese government.
: Japanese and Korean parliamentarians meet in Seoul. They also meet South Korean President Moon and discuss the forced labor dispute. Amid tensions, Prime Minister Abe declines to follow the tradition of sending a congratulatory letter to the delegation.
: Foreign Ministers Kang and Kono discuss forced labor dispute in a phone conversation.
: Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reports that Japan has been secretly negotiating with Pyongyang on the issue of North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens.
: Second South Korean Supreme Court ruling ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to pay compensation to Korean victims of forced labor during WWII, escalating the South Korea-Japan tension over the issue.
: South Korean and Japanese maritime police are involved in a 2-hour standoff in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), after a South Korean maritime police vessel stops a Japanese trawler for allegedly fishing outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. The standoff ends after the Korean ship turned away.
: Korean government decides to dissolve the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation, an organization created through a 2015 agreement between Japan and South Korea on the issue of “comfort women.”
: Prime Minister Abe expresses his desire to meet Kim Jong Un and seeks support from other countries at the ASEAN Plus Three meeting.
: US Vice President Mike Pence meets Prime Minister Abe in Tokyo. They agree that sanctions against North Korea are needed to achieve denuclearization of North Korea.
: Foreign Ministers Kono and Kang exchange views on the forced labor ruling in a phone conversation. Separately, a meeting of the South Korean and Japanese Foreign Ministry director generals for consular affairs takes place in Tokyo.
: South Korea’s Supreme Court rules against Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. in concluding that Korean victims of forced labor during the colonial occupation of Korea by Japan were entitled to compensation.
: South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun visits Japan and meets Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba.
: 20th anniversary of a landmark Japan-South Korea joint declaration between then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and then-Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi.
: Unable to reconcile positions on the flying of the Japanese military flag, South Korea and Japan agree that Japan will not participate in the fleet review.
: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Japan and meets Prime Minister Abe.
: Japanese Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori rebuffs South Korean requests for Japanese Navy ships not to fly the Japanese military flag at an international fleet review hosted by South Korea, citing Japanese domestic law.
: Foreign Ministers Kang and Kono meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
: Foreign Minister Kono and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho meet. Kono tells Ri that Japan wants to resolve the abductee issue and North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs comprehensively.
: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Abe meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
: In his address at the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Abe expresses his willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in person.
: Japan responds to inter-Korean summit by reiterating that sanctions must be kept in place until the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea is resolved and North Korea is denuclearized.
: South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon meets Prime Minister Abe at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The conversation centered on the North Korean issue. On the same day, Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa meet in Hanoi.
: South Korean National Intelligence Director Suh Hoon visits Prime Minister Abe Shinzo to explain the results of his visit to Pyongyang and meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sept. 5.
: Culture ministers from South Korea, Japan, and China meet for three-day annual meeting in Harbin to discuss ways to expand trilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation. The officials vow for cooperation on developing the common brand of the East Asian Culture City.
: Japanese government renews its claim to Dokdo/Takeshima in 2018 Defense White Paper for the 14th consecutive year.
: Japan publishes its 2018 Defense White Paper. The document assesses North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs as an “unprecedentedly serious and imminent threat.”
: Washington Post reports that Japanese Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office chief Kitamura Shigeru met secretly in Vietnam in July with Kim Song Hye, head of the united front tactical office in the North Korean United Front Department.
: As a part of South Korea-Japan cultural exchange effort, the Busan municipal government re-enacts historic parade of Korea’s cultural missions to Japan’s southwestern port city of Shimonoseki.
: North Korea stresses the need for Japan’s apology and compensation before resuming dialogue.
: South Korea and Japan fail to renew fisheries agreement over differences on fishing quotas, but fishermen from the two countries continue talks over operations in a joint fishing zone.
: South Korean government expresses deep regret over Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s sending of a ritual offering to Yasukuni war shrine.
: At a ceremony marking the designation of a new national day for comfort women, President Moon says that “the issue of comfort women for the Japanese military can truly be resolved when the victims’ dignity and honor are restored and their broken hearts are healed.” He adds that “I hope this issue will not lead to a diplomatic dispute between South Korea and Japan. I do not even believe it is an issue that can be resolved through a diplomatic solution.”
: South Korea launches a research center to compile and commission research on the history of the Imperial Japanese Army’s wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
: South Korean heads of three major parties seek to visit Japan in September and meet with ruling and opposition lawmakers, and government officials in Tokyo as part of their bipartisan effort to foster a lasting peace on the peninsula.
: Japan ranks as the top choice for young South Koreans wanting to travel on short notice. According to Yonhap, in the first five months of 2018, 3.41 million Koreans visited Japan, outpacing 3.3 million Chinese visitors.
: South Korea and Japan foreign ministers meet on sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
: South Korean civic group says that it will push for the return of 35 sets of remains of forced labor victims from Japan in August.
: Cyber experts from South Korea, Japan, and the US hold trilateral meeting in Washington and agree to continue cooperation on issues affecting cybersecurity.
: The number of Japanese tourists to South Korea surges 40.2 percent comparing to last year, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.
: South Korean government approves a budget to replace a ¥1 billion ($9 million) fund the Japanese government paid to settle the diplomatic row over Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women.
: Civic groups from South and North Korea form a committee to bring the remains of Koreans forced to do hard labor in Japan during the 1910-45 colonial era. The two sides agree to seek support from the international community, including Japan.
: South Korean government provides Japan with $1 million in flood aid.
: South Korean civic group, the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation (KCRC), signs agreement with North Korea “to work together in bringing home from Japan the remains of those victims of forced labor” during its three-day visit to the North.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls in Maruyama Kohei, minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to deliver a formal protest message on Japanese government’s amendment to the teacher’s guide for use at high school that projects Japan’s territorial claim on Dokdo/Takeshima.
: A June 2018 poll by Asan Institute for Policy Studies is released that shows South Korean’s favorable feelings toward Japan stood at 3.55 on a scale of 0 to 10.
: Japan’s Ambassador to South Korea Nagamine Yusumasa participates in Jeju forum and urges North Korea to implement complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of its nuclear program and address the abduction issue. He also conveys Japan’s desire for a bilateral summit with North Korea.
: North Korea warns Japan not to intervene in the Korean denuclearization issue, saying that Tokyo is not a signatory to the Panmunjom Declaration between the two Koreas nor the North’s summit agreement with the US.
: Joint survey by South Korea’s East Asia Institute and Japan’s Genron NPO shows South Koreans are more optimistic than Japanese about North Korea’s denuclearization. On Seoul-Tokyo relations, for the first time since 2013, the ratio of Japanese having friendly feelings toward South Korean was lower than that of South Koreans toward them.
: South Korean Ministry of National Defense dismisses Japan’s call for halt to “Dokdo defense drill.”
: Japanese media reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave a positive response to a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo and that Japan is considering an Abe visit to Pyongyang.
: US Secretary State Mike Pompeo talks by phone with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang and Japanese Foreign Minister Kono on the outcome of the US-North Korea summit in Singapore.
: Hideki Yano, secretary general of the Society Connecting the Colonization History Museum to Japan, a Japanese civic group, visits Seoul to deliver the group’s donation of $93,000 to the Seoul-based Center for Historical Truth and Justice. Yano urges Tokyo to compensate colonial-era victims in North Korea.
: Prime Minister Lee says the removal of a statue symbolizing forced labor under Japan’s colonial rule, from a site near the Japanese Consulate in Busan, took place because activists did not get permission for the installation.
: Statue symbolizing Korean forced laborers under Japan’s colonial rule is removed from a pedestrian road near the Japanese Consulate in Busan amid a strong clash between police and activists.
: Minister of Gender Equality and Family Chung Hyun-back says Seoul plans to open a research institute in August to commemorate comfort women.
: Office of Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon denies Yomiuri report that Lee said that the Six-Party Talks “should discuss economic aid to the communist nation if Pyongyang agrees to denuclearization.”
: Prime Minister Abe says that he could talk with Kim Jong Un if it leads to resolution of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea.
: President Moon and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo meet on the sidelines of the South Korea, Japan, and China trilateral summit and express hope for improved ties between the two countries. South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy and Japanese counterpart discuss ways to expand cooperation in energy and autonomous cars.
: President Moon Jae-in vows to help Japan improve its ties with North Korea and urges Tokyo and Pyongyang to start a dialogue for diplomatic normalization.
: Bank of Korea’s chief says South Korea will push to resume talks with Japan for currency swap deal, which broke off in January 2017 due to the comfort women issue.
: Finance chiefs of South Korea, Japan, and China release a joint statement warning against growing protectionism and stressing the importance of promoting an open and rule-based trade framework after their meeting in Manila.
: South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun prods Japan to stick to its pledge to atone for wartime forced labor.
: South Korean police and activists clash over installation of a statue symbolizing forced labor victims under Japan’s colonial rule near Japanese consulate in Busan.
: President Moon and Prime Minister Abe hold telephone talks to discuss the result of the inter-Korean summit.
: Prime Minister Abe welcomes inter-Korean summit agreements to build peace and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, but also strongly urges North Korea “to take concrete action” following the agreement.
: Japan protests South Korea’s plan to offer a dessert featuring “Dokdo” at the upcoming inter-Korean summit.
: In a telephone conversation with President Moon, Prime Minister Abe expresses hope to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after inter-Korean summit.
: Top nuclear envoys of South Korea and Japan meet in Seoul to discuss cooperation on North Korea and its nuclear issues.
: South Korea voices deep concerns over Prime Minister Abe’s sending of offering to the Yasukuni Shrine.
: South Korea protests a group of 76 high-level Japanese officials’ visit to Yasukuni Shrine. The group includes State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sato Masahia and Okuno Shinsuke, state minister for internal affairs and communications.
: Coalition of South Korean civic groups vows to erect a statue for forced labor victims near Japanese consulate in Busan.
: Oh Tai-kyu, South Korea’s new consul general in Osaka, vows to narrow differences in perceptions among Koreans and Japanese over Japan’s wartime sexual slavery of Korean women. South Korea’s trade ministry says that it has filed an appeal against a ruling by the WTO on its import restrictions on Japanese seafood.
: Yonhap reports that Japan and South Korea will decide the fate of their protracted negotiations for a bilateral fisheries agreement by the end of April.
: KCNA criticizes South Korea’s defense cooperation with Japan and the US saying that “Now is the time to reject cooperation with foreign forces,” because it “leads to confrontation and war.”
: Rodong Sinmun slams South Korea’s security consultation meeting with Japan in March by describing it as “foul meetings to plot confrontation which run counter to the current reconciliatory mood for inter-Korean relations and improving the security situation of the Korean Peninsula.”
: South Korea, Japan, and China hold trade talks in Seoul.
: South Korea, Japan, and the US agree to maintain close cooperation against North Korea’s illegal maritime activity, including illicit shipment, which is prohibited under UN Security Council resolutions.
: US, South Korea, and Japan hold Defense Trilateral Talks (DTT) in Washington.
: Cheong Wa Dae tells reporters that the national security advisers of South Korea, Japan, and the US had an unannounced meeting in San Francisco to discuss ways for “complete denuclearization” of Korea.
: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) accuses Japan of trying to undermine the recent improvement in North Korean relations with South Korea and the US.
: Prime Minister Abe and President Moon hold a phone conversation. Moon stresses that inter-Korean ties can move forward when Pyongyang-Tokyo ties improve.
: Japan and South Korea hold a joint meeting of senior diplomats and defense officials, the so called “two-plus-two” meeting, to discuss policy cooperation for the first time in three years.
: Suh Hoon, special envoy of President Moon, visits Japan to meet Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kono to explain the outcome of his two-day visit to North Korea, where he held talks and dinner with leader Kim Jong-un. During a meeting with Suh, Kono voices his “respect” for South Korea’s diplomatic efforts to bring North Korea back to negotiations and describes the situation as a “moment right before the miracle.”
: South Korean businesses in Japan forecast increased sales in 2018 due to Japan’s economic recovery, according to Korean International Trade Association (KITA).
: In a speech marking the anniversary of the March 1 Movement, President Moon strongly urges Japan to sincerely reflect on past wrongdoings and says that Japan has no right to claim that the sex slave issue is settled.
: Japan allows import of processed poultry from South Korea following six years of negotiations.
: During her keynote speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Foreign Minister Kang says efforts to resolve the issue of Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II “lacked a victim-centered approach.”
: Japan’s Shimane Prefecture holds annual event to promote its claim to Takeshima, which was designated “Takeshima Day” in 2005. South Korean Foreign Ministry lodges an official protest with Tokyo.
: South Korea’s trade ministry says that it will appeal the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on import restrictions on Japanese seafood after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to safeguard public health and safety.
: Seoul Central District Court orders South Korean government to pay 7 million won in compensation to Kato Tatsuya, a former Seoul bureau chief of the Sankei Shimbun, acquitted of defaming ex-President Park Geun-hye in a news article regarding the Sewol Ferry sinking in 2014.
: South Korean man is detained for threatening to blow up the Japanese Embassy in Seoul after an NBC commentator’s favorable remark about Japan’s colonial rule of Korean Peninsula.
: Lawmakers from South Korea and Japan discuss North Korea’s Olympics charm offensive as the key topic at the second annual forum.
: Cheong Wa Dae official says President Moon rejected Prime Minister Abe’s call to resume South Korea-US military drills.
: Prime Minister Abe makes his first visit to South Korea since President Moon took office. The two meet in Pyeongchang.
: Korean residents in Japan commemorate the centennial of the Feb. 8 Independence Declaration in Tokyo. Historians say that the Declaration paved the way for the March 1 Independence Movement and the establishment of Korea’s provisional government in Shanghai. President Moon sent a social media message.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide says South Korea’s use of flag showing Dokdo/Takeshima islets during PyeongChang Winter Olympics is “extremely regrettable” and urges Seoul to take “appropriate measures.” South Korea’s Foreign Ministry reaffirms it will not use a unification flag showing Dokdo/Takeshima during the Olympics.
: Ferrotec Korea Corp., the local subsidiary of Japanese semiconductor parts firm Ferrotex, is referred to South Korean prosecutors over industrial spying allegations.
: South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo suggests that the navies of South Korea, Japan, the US, China, and Russia hold a joint forum on peace and maritime order in Northeast Asia.
: Nikkei reports that Abe’s decision to attend the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang winter Olympics was prompted by the US.
: South Korea strongly protests Japan’s establishment of an exhibition hall intended to promote its claims to Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Ambassador Lee Su-hoon says South Korea needs to take a long-term approach in dealing with sexual slavery issue with Japan. South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson says Seoul has yet to determine the fate of a fund worth ¥1 billion paid by Japan under the 2015 comfort women deal and will also consult with Japan about how to handle the fund.
: At the 196th session of the Diet, Foreign Minister Kono reaffirms Japan’s commitment to closely cooperating with South Korea on North Korea issue and building a future-oriented relationship. He stresses that the Japan-ROK agreement on the comfort women issue is “final and irreversible.” and reaffirms Tokyo’s position that Takeshima is an inherent part of the territory of Japan.
: South Korea’s Finance Ministry levies a 56.3 percent preliminary anti-dumping duty on coated paper from Japan to protect its local industry.
: Foreign Ministers Kang and Kono attend “a Foreign Minister’s Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula” in Vancouver, Canada, where foreign ministers of 20 countries express support for inter-Korean talks and the importance of diplomatic efforts to resolve the North Korea’s nuclear issue.
: In a nationally televised press conference, President Moon calls for Japan’s sincere apology to resolve wartime sexual slavery issue.
: Foreign Minister Kang says South Korea will not seek renegotiation of the 2015 comfort women deal with Japan, but demands Japan’s fresh “voluntary and heart-felt apology” to victims. In response, Foreign Minister Kono Taro says, “ It’s totally unacceptable that South Korea demands Japan carry out more measures, even though the 2015 Japan-South Korea agreement confirmed a final and irreversible resolution.”
: South Korean Foreign Ministry Director General for Northeast Asian Affairs Kim Yong-kil meets Director General for Asian and Oceanian Affairs Kanasugi to discuss bilateral issues.
: Choi Jong-ku, chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), says South Korea seeks deeper cooperation with Japan and China in regulating cryptocurrencies.
: Yonhap reports that Foreign Minister Kang has begun efforts to listen to views of former wartime sex slaves of Japan since the Foreign Ministry task force concluded that the 2015 comfort women deal had procedural problems and did not fully reflect opinions of the victims and civic groups.
: South Korean President Moon Jae-in holds a lunch meeting with eight former wartime sex slaves of the Japanese military at Cheong Wa Dae as an apparent demonstration of his objection to 2015 comfort women agreement. It followed Moon’s visit to Kim Bok-dong, a 90-year-old former sex slave at a local hospital.
: Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, talks by telephone with Japanese counterpart Kanasugi Kenji to share assessments of the security situation of the Korean Peninsula.
: South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha cites strained bilateral relations with Japan over comfort women issues as one of the diplomatic challenges confronting South Korea in her New Year speech.
: Japanese government source says PM Abe might decline to attend the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February given South Korean government’s report casting doubt on the 2015 comfort women agreement.
: South Korean Navy conducts military exercise for the defense of Dokdo. The head of Japan Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau protests.
: Nuclear envoys Lee Do-hoon and Kanasugi Kenji discuss “plans to bring North Korea to a venue for serious dialogue while toughening sanctions and pressure.”
: Foreign Minister Kang visits Japan – for the first time since taking office – to meet Foreign Minister Kono. They discuss North Korea and the controversy over Japan’s wartime sex slavery.
: South Korean Navy and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Forces conduct a joint search and rescue drill in waters southwest of Yokosuka.
: South Korean man jailed for detonating a bomb at Yasukuni Shrine in 2015 claims that he is suffering from human rights abuses during his incarceration.
: Kyodo reports that Japan plans to publicize testimony denying that Korean were forced to work “under harsh conditions” at UNESCO-listed Hashima island.
: South Korea, US, and Japan conduct a joint missile tracking exercise.
: ROK Foreign Ministry expresses regret over Japan not commemorating victims of its forced hard labor after adding Hashima Island to UNESCO World Heritage list in 2015.
: South Korea, Japan, and China’s senior financial regulators meet in Incheon to discuss steps to ease volatility over US interest rates hikes.
: Foreign Minister Kono says Japan may use its military airplanes and ships to evacuate its Japanese nationals from the Korean Peninsula in the event of a contingency.
: South Korea’s National Assembly passes bill to designate Aug. 14 as a day to commemorate comfort women.
: Osaka Mayor Yoshimura Hirofumi decides to end the six decades of sister-city relationship with San Francisco over a comfort women monument set up in the city.
: President Moon and the head of New Komeito Yamaguchi Natsuo vow to improve South Korea-Japan relationship during their meeting at Cheong Wa Dae.
: Ambassador Lee Su-hoon meets Foreign Minister Kono and they agree to resume shuttle diplomacy between two countries’ leaders.
: South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun meets Vice Foreign Minister Sugiyama, other senior government officials, and heads of main business associations to discuss ways to provide more job opportunities for Koreans in Japan.
: Health ministers of South Korea, Japan, and China meet in Jinan, China and vow to enhance cooperation on the growing aging population.
: South Korea’s Foreign Ministry issues a statement congratulating Japan on the launch of its new Cabinet and voices hopes for “a future-oriented, cooperative partnership based on the right understanding of shared history.”
: UNESCO postpones its review of multinational civic group’s request to register document related to comfort women on the list of “Memory of the World.”
: Japan renews territorial claim to Takeshima in teaching materials posted on a government website.
: Poll conducted by the Japan’s Cabinet Office in July shows Japanese have grown less interested in Dokdo/Takeshima issue than three years ago.
: Seoul High Court overturns a lower-court’s acquittal of Park Yu-ha and convicts her of defaming wartime sexual slavery victims and charges a fine.
: South Korea’s Foreign Ministry says the government supports efforts to register documents related to comfort women as a “Memory of the World” listing of UNSCO.
: South Korea’s new Ambassador to Japan Lee Su-hoon reaffirms a two-track approach to Japan, separating historical disputes from future-oriented cooperation on North Korea and economy. Lee expresses hopes for a visit by Emperor Akihito to Seoul.
: South Korean civic groups urge Japan to apologize over its claim over Dokdo/Takeshima and abolish the designation of “Takeshima Day.”
: President Moon extends congratulations to PM Abe on his re-election and reaffirms coordination on North Korean issues over a summit telephone talk.
: South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, and US Secretary of Defense James Mattis hold a trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in the Philippines.
: South Korea, Japan, and the US carry out joint missile warning exercise, designed to prepare against North Korean provocations.
: South Korean Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo and Japanese counterpart Matsuyama Masaji agree to jointly address the low birthrate in both countries.
: South Korean and Japanese nuclear envoys meet to discuss a coordinated approach toward North Korea.
: South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam, Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke, and US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan agree to seek all possible diplomatic options on North Korea in trilateral talks held in Seoul.
: South Korea’s Foreign Ministry expresses concerns over a ritual offering sent by PM Abe to Yasukuni Shrine.
: A comfort women statue is unveiled at the Museum of Korean American Heritage in Manhattan, New York.
: South Korea’s new envoy on the North Korean nuclear program Lee Do-hoon has first telephone conversation with Japanese counterpart Kanasugi Kenji.
: About 300 business leaders gather in Seoul to attend a meeting hosted by the Korea-Japan Economic Association to discuss ways to boost ties in the technology and energy sectors and facilitate multilateral free trade with other Asian nations.
: Korean comedy-drama, “I Can Speak,” a movie about a woman who served as a sex slave during Japan’s colonial rule of Korea, attracts over 480,000 people on its opening weekend in South Korea.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announces plan to build a comfort women monument at the National Mang-Hyang Cemetery in Cheonan, South Korea. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide says the plan runs counter to the spirit of a 2015 bilateral agreement. South Korean Foreign Ministry says that the monument installation is not in breach of the agreement.
: Regarding the potential inflow of North Korean refugees to Japan in a contingency on the Korean Peninsula, Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro says, “Can police handle them? Will the Self-Defense Forces be dispatched and shoot them down? We’d better think about it seriously.”
: South Korea’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon proposes Emperor Akihito’s visit to South Korea before his abdication to enhance the bilateral relationship.
: South Korea’s and Japan’s foreign ministers affirm their close coordination on the issue of North Korea during a bilateral meeting in New York.
: South Korea, Japan, and the US hold a trilateral summit in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
: Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visit Koma Shrine, which is related to the Koguryo Kingdom, in Hidaka South Korea.
: Japan and the US vow “maximum pressure” on North Korea in response to the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile test by Pyongyang.
: The army chiefs of South Korea, US and Japan – Gen. Kim Yong-woo, Gen. Mark A. Milley, and Gen. Koji Yamazaki Koji – exchange views on North Korea at a meeting held on the sidelines of the 10th Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC) in Seoul.
: House of Sharing in Gwangju says a statue of victims of Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement will be unveiled at St. Mary’s Square in San Francisco on Sept. 21.
: South Korea’s and Japan’s foreign ministers hold telephone talk on North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile earlier in the day.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posts video clips online in Japanese and four other languages to promote wider use of the name “East Sea” for the waters lying between Korea and Japan instead of “Sea of Japan.”
: The heads of the central banks of South Korea, Japan, and China hold an annual meeting in Songdo, South Korea to exchange views on recent economic and financial developments in the three countries.
: A stolen cultural asset of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty returns to South Korea from Japan after 20 years, according to the Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation.
: South Korea’s Defense Minister Song Young-moo and Japan’s Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori talk by telephone and condemn North Korea’s nuclear test.
: South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo hold telephone talks to discuss the North Korean nuclear test.
: Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Kono Taro and South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha hold telephone talks following the North Korean nuclear test.
: President Moon and Prime Minister Abe agree to increase pressure on North Korea to an “extreme” level and vow to push for new and stronger sanctions by the UN Security Council. Top security officials of South Korea, the United States, and Japan hold three-way talks to discuss cooperation against North Korea’s threats.
: President Moon names Lee Su-hoon (63), an international relations professor from Kyungnam University, as ambassador to Japan. Lee served as the head of the foreign relations and security division on Moon’s transition team.
: Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon pays respect to a late victim of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery and instructs the government to fulfill dying wish of Ha Sang-sook, a comfort woman who passed away recently, which is to be buried at a state cemetery.
: Japanese government returns a complaint filed by 11 South Korean comfort women seeking compensation for forced sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II. A South Korean victim of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery, Ha Sang-sook, dies at the age of 89, reducing the number of surviving victims to 36.
: At the ninth annual Culture Ministers Talks held in Kyoto, South Korea, China, and Japan vow to cooperate to0 ensure Seoul’s successful hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and to increase cultural exchanges among the three countries.
: At 19th Trilateral Environmental Ministers Meeting between South Korea, China, and Japan in Suwon, South Korea, ministers agree to step up cooperation on air pollution.
: At the 72nd Anniversary of the National Liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule ceremony, President Moon urges other Northeast Asian countries, including Japan, to participate in institutionalizing regional security and economic cooperation.
: Prime Minister Abe sends offering to Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, but he and all his Cabinet members refrain from visiting the shrine. Senior Vice Foreign Minister Masahisa Sato and two groups of Japanese lawmakers visit the shrine. South Korean Foreign Ministry issues a statement of “deep concern” over the Shrine visit by the Japanese politicians.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga expresses concern over the operations of buses in Seoul carrying statues that symbolize comfort women.
: A series of events are held for international comfort women day in South Korea, including the display of 500 statues of a girl symbolizing comfort women at Cheongye Stream Square in central Seoul. Five public buses pass the Japanese Embassy in central Seoul carrying a girl’s statue and the Korean folk song, Arirang, is played when the buses pass the embassy.
: Naver, South Korea’s major Internet portal operator, adds updated images of the “Dokdo islets in the East Sea” on its online map service a day before the 72nd Anniversary of the National Liberation day.
: Foreign Minister Kang and Foreign Minister Kono vow to step up joint efforts to rein in North Korea and improve national ties at their bilateral talks in Manila on the sidelines of ASEAN meetings.
: Gwangju District Court of South Korea rules in favor of victims of Japanese forced labor during World War II, ordering the Japanese firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay compensation to an elderly surviving victim and a family member of a deceased victim.
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues a commentary “strongly protesting” Japan’s renewed claim to Dokdo islets in its annual defense white paper and calls for “immediate withdrawal.” South Korea summons a minister at Japan’s Embassy in Seoul, Mizushima Koichi, and a defense official at the embassy to lodge a protest against the claim.
: During a telephone conversation, President Moon and Prime Minister Abe agree to put maximum pressure on North Korea until it chooses the path of dialogue.
: Foreign Ministers from South Korea, Japan, China, and Southeast Asian nations share concerns on North Korea’s provocations and agree to bolster financial cooperation at the annual ASEAN+3 meeting in Manila. South Korea, Japan, and the US foreign ministers meet to discuss North Korea issue on the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings. Foreign Minister Kang and Secretary of State Tillerson “strongly back” Japan’s efforts to address the issue of Japanese abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.
: ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) issues a statement expressing “grave concern” over North Korea’s escalation of regional tensions and urging Pyongyang to “fully” comply with UNSC resolutions.
: Yonhap reports that South Korean Foreign Ministry will promote use of “East Sea” at the 11th meeting of UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names.
: South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries states that fishery goods exports to Japan increased 9.1 percent on-year to $82.5 million.
: UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts new sanctions resolution (Resolution 2371) on North Korea.
: Top security officials of South Korea, US, and Japan hold a video conference and agree to maximize pressure on North Korea to stop its missile and nuclear provocations.
: Japan’s Defense Ministry releases white paper that refers to Takeshima islets as its sovereign territory, the 13th straight year Japan has made that claim in its defense paper.
: In response to South Korea’s launching of a task force to review the comfort women agreement, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga states that South Korea should note that the agreement is “final and irreversible” and should implement it faithfully.
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs declares that South Korea has officially launched a task force to review comfort women agreement.
: Foreign Minister Kang has separate emergency phone calls with US Secretary of State Tillerson and Foreign Minister Kishida to discuss responses to North Korea’s missile launch on July 28.
: Gender Equality and Family Minister Chung says the ministry has launched an inspection team to review and assess the “Reconciliation and Healing Foundation,”
: Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Nagamine Yasumasa calls on South Korea to “faithfully” implement the 2015 comfort women deal at a forum held in Seoul.
: South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson says that a task force to review the comfort women deal is soon to be launched and the ministry is “in the middle of preparations for personnel composition of the task force.”
: Head of “Reconciliation and Healing Foundation” Kim Tae-hyeon resigns.
: A joint annual opinion poll by Genron NPO in Japan and the East Asia Institute of South Korea shows that 53.8 percent of Japanese respondents and 75 percent of South Korean respondents think that the 2015 comfort women deal did not resolve the dispute.
: South Korea publishes administration’s five-year management plan.
: South Korea announces that it has approved a plan by the State Affairs Planning Advisory to designate a national memorial day in 2018 to remember the victims of sex crimes committed by Japanese soldiers during the World War II.
: Foreign Minister Kishida lodges a protest over South Korea’s support for efforts for UNESCO listing of documents related to comfort women. South Korean Foreign Ministry states that, “The government’s consistent stance is to continue efforts to make the comfort women issue a lesson from history and pass down to future generations the truth of the issue.”
: During her visit to a shelter for former sex slaves, South Korean Gender Equality and Family Minister Chung says that the government plans to set up a museum for Korean victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery in Seoul by 2020.
: President Donald Trump, President Moon, and Prime Minister Abe issue a joint statement condemning North Korea’s testfiring of a ballistic missile on July 4 and agreeing to draw tougher UNSC sanctions on North Korea.
: President Moon and Prime Minister Abe hold the first summit meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
: Blue House announces that President Moon and Prime Minister Abe will hold their first summit on July 7 on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.
: South Korea’s Gender Equality and Family Minister-nominee Chung Hyun-back says that she will examine the “Reconciliation and Healing Foundation” closely, resume the ministry’s support to register the comfort women related materials to the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register, and restart publishing a white paper on comfort women.
: Busan Metropolitan Assembly passes ordinance that entrusts municipalities with the protection and care of statues symbolizing the “comfort women.”
: Comfort women statue unveiled in the city of Brookhaven, despite Japanese efforts to block it.
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson condemns Japanese Consul General Shinozuka’s comment in a press conference.
: A local newspaper reports that Japanese consul general in Atlanta Shinozuka Takashi stated in an interview with the newspaper that there is “no evidence” that the military sexually enslaved women during WWII; rather, the women were “paid prostitutes.”
: Foreign Minister Kang and Foreign Minister Kishida hold phone talks. Mainichi reports that the ministers were at odds over the 2015 comfort women deal.
: In a newspaper interview with The Washington Post, President Moon urges Japanese government to “take legal responsibility for its actions” and “make an official apology” to former comfort women.
: South Korea calls in the minister for political affairs at the Japanese embassy, Kitagawa Katsuro, to voice strong protest against Japan’s “repeated” and “unjustified” territorial claims to Dokdo islets in the new education manuals.
: South Korean government condemns Japanese government’s recent order to its foreign missions to report maps with marking of “Dokdo” or “East Sea.”
: South Korean Navy announces a two-day “Dokdo defense drill,” an effort to defend Dokdo from the possible aggression by “outside forces.”
: Seoul Central District Court concludes that South Korean sex slavery victims still have individual rights to sue the Japanese government for compensation despite the 2015 agreement.
: President Moon tells Nikai Toshihiro, Prime Minister Abe’s special envoy, that the people of South Korea do not accept the 2015 comfort women agreement and “more time is needed” to resolve the issue.
: Japanese government calls on its citizens abroad to contact Japanese diplomatic missions if they find a map labeled as the “East Sea,” the name favored by South Korea, instead of the “Sea of Japan.”
: South Korea, Japan, and China hold Second Trilateral High-Level Dialogue on the Artic in Tokyo, adopting a joint statement agreeing to enhance cooperation on Arctic research.
: South Korean and Japanese parliamentarian leaders meet and call for the two countries closer cooperation against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
: Three victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery come forward in support of Foreign Minister-nominee Kang.
: Japanese Defense Minister Inada Tomomi says her government regards comfort women issue with South Korea as fully resolved.
: Foreign Minister-nominee Kang visits a house sheltering Japan’s wartime sexual slavery victims and remarks that “victims” should be at center of resolving “comfort women” issue.
: Following the missile launch by North Korea on May 29, President Moon and Prime Minister Abe hold telephone talk. They share the view that provocations by North Korea are “totally unacceptable” and agree to maintain close cooperation on North Korea issue. Moon expresses appreciation for the leading role that Japan played in issuing a strong communique on the issues regarding North Korea at the recent G7 Summit.
: Japanese media, including Kyodo News, The Japan Times, and Mainichi, reports that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Prime Minister Abe that he supports the 2015 comfort women agreement during their meeting in Italy on the sidelines of the G7 Summit. Secretary general’s office rejects Japanese Foreign Ministry’s claim.
: South Korean Foreign Minister-nominee Kang Kyung-hwa, expresses willingness to meet the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery on the day she returns to South Korea from New York.
: A comfort women statue rejected by the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta finds a new home in Brookhaven after a vote by the city council of Brookhaven.
: South Korea dismisses Japanese government’s protest of maritime research near Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged a complaint against a South Korean ocean research vessel’s intrusion into Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islets “without permission.”
: South Korean Foreign Ministry says it is reviewing a UN Committee against Torture’s recommendation to modify the 2015 comfort women deal.
: Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Foreign Minister Kishida hold telephone talk. They exchange information on North Korea’s ballistic missile launch, agree to maintain close cooperation between two countries and the US.
: UN Committee against Torture calls on Japan and South Korea to revise the 2015 comfort women accord to “ensure that the surviving victims of sexual slavery during World War II are provided with redress, including the right to compensation and rehabilitation and the right to truth, reparation and assurances of non-repetitions.”
: President Moon and Prime Minister Abe hold telephone talks. Abe congratulates Moon on his election victory and they agree on developing a future-oriented South Korea-Japan relationship and holding a summit meeting as soon as possible.
: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga tells reporters, “The [comfort women] agreement has been highly praised by the international community and it is extremely important that both Japan and South Korea implement it with responsibility,” and “The Japanese government will take various opportunities to tenaciously urge the steady implementation of the agreement.”
: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio issue statements congratulating South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s election victory and urge a future-oriented South Korea-Japan relationship in a broad range of fields as each other’s most important neighbors that share strategic interests.
: Finance ministers and central bank governors of South Korea, Japan, and China meet in Yokohama to coordinate policies and strengthen cooperation to fight trade protectionism. The top officials also attend the ASEAN+3 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting scheduled on the same day.
: South Korean Ministry of Gender Equality and Family modifies the report on Japan’s wartime sexual slavery distributed online and offline after receiving complaints from some contributors that the positive description of the 2015 comfort women agreement does not reflect their view and the decision to publish the report was not discussed with them in advance.
: Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Nagamine Yasumasa urges South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se to remove “comfort woman” statues. Yun notes the need for all parties to respect the spirit of the agreement and for the South Korean government to gain the understanding of the civic group and others who set up the statues.
: South Korean Ministry of Gender Equality and Family states that the ministry will distribute the 216-page report on Japan’s wartime sexual slavery of Korean women to government agencies and post it online in the coming week.
: A South Korean civic group unveils plans to install statues symbolizing World War II forced laborers in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul and the Consulate General in Busan. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide reacts to the news by indicating that such moves will likely have an “undesirable” effect on bilateral relations.
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodges a complaint against the Japanese government’s “unjust sovereignty claims” over Dokdo/Takeshima in its 2017 diplomatic bluebook. The Ministry calls for an immediate withdrawal of such claims.
: North Korea conducts a live-fire artillery drill in celebration of the 85th anniversary of the founding of its army.
: Envoys from Japan, South Korea, and the US hold meet in Tokyo to discuss North Korea’s recent provocations, and further collaboration among the three countries.
: Japanese government announces plans to conduct a study on the evacuation of Japanese nationals in South Korea in the event of a military conflict.
: Around 95 Japanese lawmakers visit Yasukuni Shrine to mark the beginning of the annual Spring Festival. Prime Minister Abe dedicates a masakaki wooden offering, but does not visit in person. The visit and offering prompt South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express “deep concern” in a brief statement.
: First televised debate is held among South Korean presidential candidates.
: The Mainichi reports that South Korea’s defense and unification ministries refused a request by the Japanese government for Ambassador Nagamine to meet Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.
: Ambassador Nagamine meets South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam to discuss the “comfort women” issue and the statue in Busan.
: Ambassador to South Korea Nagamine Yasumasa and Consul General to Busan Morimoto Yasuhiro return to Seoul after having been recalled to Tokyo in January.
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns Japanese government’s approval of courses of study for elementary and secondary schools that incorporate territorial claims over Dokdo/Takeshima. The Ministry calls for an immediate withdrawal of such claims.
: Japanese government lodges a complaint over South Korea’s proposed plan to conduct military drills near Dokdo/Takeshima.
: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns Japanese government for approving high-school textbooks that portray Dokdo/Takeshima as Japanese territory. The Ministry demands “an immediate correction.”
: North Korea launches four ballistic missiles toward the East Sea (Sea of Japan). Three of them fall into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, west of Akita Prefecture.
: Foreign Minister Kishida and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se hold phone talks regarding North Korea’s ballistic missile launch earlier that morning. They agree to cooperate and curb North Korean provocations.
: Yonhap News Agency reports that the US has informed Japan and South Korea about plans to review reinstatement of North Korea on the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
: Top envoys from Japan, South Korea, and the US meet in Washington DC to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launch and Kim Jong Nam’s assassination. They agree to work together in response to North Korea’s provocations and the assassination.
: Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio meets Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se to discuss South Korean civic groups’ installation of a “comfort woman” statue in Busan. Kishida expresses deep concern regarding the installation, and calls for its removal.
: First trilateral meeting among Japan, South Korea, and the US since the inauguration of the Trump administration is held on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bonn. They issue a joint statement to condemn North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile and its human rights abuses.
: South Korean government summons the Japanese embassy minister to lodge a complaint against Japan’s Education Ministry for renewing claims to Dokdo/Takeshima in a draft version of its revised education guidelines for elementary and middle schools.
: Envoys from Japan, South Korea, and the US hold a video conference to discuss North Korea’s latest provocation.
: North Korea launches an intermediate-range ballistic missile. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga condemns the launch as a “clear provocation to Japan and the region,” while South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues a statement calling the launch an “explicit” violation of the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
: Japan, South Korea, and the US jointly call for an emergency UNSC meeting to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launch.
: South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se meets a delegation from the Korean community in Japan. Head of the Korean Residents Union Oh Gong-tae states the delegation’s concern over the “comfort woman” statue in Busan, and requests its relocation.
: The Seoul Eastern District Court acquits Sejong University professor Park Yu-ha of defaming “comfort women.” Park is the author of Comfort Women of the Empire.
: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan issues a statement calling for closer cooperation between Japan and South Korea, as well as trilateral partnership with the United States. The Ministry also urges South Korea to support a “steady implementation” of the “comfort women” agreement.
: Korean Sport and Olympic Committee lodges a formal complaint against the Japanese Olympic Committee and organizers of the Sapporo Asian Winter Games for assigning South Korean athletes to a hotel that provided books with “far-right tendencies” in its guest rooms.
: Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio asserts that “Takeshima is Japan’s sovereign territory” in his New Year’s foreign policy address at the National Diet of Japan.
: The Japanese government lodges a complaint against the designation of “Takeshima” as “Dokdo” on the official website of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
: Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Nagamine Yasumasa and Consul General to Busan Morimoto Yasuhiro are recalled to Tokyo in a move to signal the Japanese government’s dissatisfaction with the installation of the “comfort woman” statue in Busan.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide indicates during a regular press briefing that the installation of a “comfort woman” statue facing the Consulate General of Japan in Busan in December 2016 was in violation of the dignity of consular institutions as stipulated in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
: Japan, South Korea, and the US hold the sixth vice foreign ministerial meeting in Washington DC. Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke and South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam meet bilaterally to discuss the US response to North Korea’s provocations and the implementation of the “comfort women” agreement.
: Gyeonggi Province Council announces its plan to install a “comfort woman” statue on one of the Dokdo/Takeshima islets and another on the provincial council grounds by December this year. The Council expects to raise 70 million won ($59,400) for this endeavor.
: South Korean civic group unveils a “comfort women” statue in front of the Japanese Consulate in Busan, which raises concern with the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding potential implications for its ties with Japan.
: Japan’s Minister of Defense Inada Tomomi visits Yasukuni Shrine, prompting South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon Maruyama Kohei, a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, and the Ministry of Defense to summon Takahashi Hideaki the Japanese military attaché to Korea.
: Japan’s Minister for Reconstruction Imamura Masahiro visits the Yasukuni Shrine, sparking protests from South Korea.
: The Hankyoreh reports that prosecutors have requested a three-year jail sentence for Park Yu-ha – a Sejong University professor who is on trial on accounts of defamation of “comfort women.” Her sentence hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2017.
: UN General Assembly adopts a resolution recommended by its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) on the Situation of Human Rights in North Korea.
: The Japan Times reports that the Japanese government will broadcast its radio program aimed at Japanese abductees in North Korea on more frequencies in the coming year.
: Japan, South Korea, and US hold Defense Trilateral Talks (DTT) in Seoul.
: Japan and South Korea share their first piece of classified information on North Korea’s nuclear program and ballistic missiles since inking GSOMIA in November.
: Moon Jae-in, former leader of the Minjoo Party (and potential presidential candidate) calls for a complete re-evaluation of the “comfort women” deal and GSOMIA.
: NHK confirms that US government believes Pyongyang conducted a ground test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile in early December.
: In a telephone call, South Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister Yoo Il-ho assures Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Aso Taro of the continued stability in South Korea despite the ongoing political turmoil.
: Japan’s Upper House passes the “Bill Promoting Implementation of Specified Integrated Resort” in an extraordinary session of the Diet.
: Nuclear envoys from Japan, South Korea, and the US meet in Seoul to discuss collaboration on new sanctions against North Korea.
: Japan’s Minister for Disaster Management Matsumoto Jun and South Korean counterpart Park In-yong sign an agreement on cooperation on disaster control and safety.
: The Japan Times reports that bilateral negotiations on the currency swap arrangement between Japan and South Korea will most likely stall, quoting Deputy Prime Minister Yoo Il-ho.
: Japanese government announces it will expand sanctions against North Korea.
: At the request of the Japanese ambassador to the UN, UN Security Council convenes a meeting to discuss the human rights situation in North Korea.
: Motion to impeach President Park Geun-hye passes in the South Korean National Assembly. This makes Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn the acting president and gives a greater role for Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance Yoo Il-ho, particularly in the context of South Korea’s interaction with Japan.
: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meets Kato Katsunobu, Japanese minister for the abduction issue, in New York, to discuss issues regarding North Korea.
: “Bill Promoting Implementation of Specified Integrated Resort” that would legalize casino gambling in integrated resorts in Japan passes the Lower House Committee.
: UN Security Council adopts Resolution 2321, which expresses concerns against North Korea’s nuclear testing and ballistic missiles activities and contains measures for further sanctions against the regime.
: The Nikkei reports that the Seoul Central District Court has ruled that Japanese company, Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp, must compensate five Korean women 100 million won ($85,000) each for forced labor during World War II.
: South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo and Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Nagamine Yasumasa sign the GSOMIA.
: The Hankyoreh reports that a scheduled South Korean military exercise on Nov. 24 to protect the disputed territory of Dokdo/Takeshima is abruptly postponed in consideration of the GSOMIA with Japan, prompting criticism from the South Korean public.
: Co-drafted resolution by Japan and the European Union condemning North Korea’s human rights violations is approved by the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee.
: Second round of bilateral discussions on GSOMIA take place in Seoul.
: Japanese and South Korean parliamentarians meet in Seoul for the 39th annual General Assembly of the Parliamentarians’ Union.
: First round of bilateral discussions on the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) take place in Tokyo.
: Governors of Japan’s Kochi Prefecture and South Korea’s South Jeolla Province sign a pact establishing a sister relationship between the two regions.
: Kato Tatsuya, former Seoul bureau chief of Japan’s Sankei Shimbun, publishes an editorial about the ongoing political turmoil surrounding South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye.
: Navies of Japan, South Korea, and the US participate in a joint naval exercise off the southern coast of South Korea’s Jeju Island.
: Three top figures of the Lotte Group are indicted by the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office on corruption charges.
: Korea-Japan Exchange Festival (Hanil Chukjae Hanmadang) is held in Seoul.
: Japan-Korea Exchange Festival (Nikkan Koryu Matsuri) is held in Tokyo.
: Prime Minister Abe releases a statement in response to the fifth nuclear test by North Korea.
: Japanese and South Korean parliamentarians meet in Tokyo for the executive committee meeting ahead of the scheduled General Assembly of Parliamentarians’ Union in November.
: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo meets South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye in Vientiane on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-related meetings.
: Seventh trilateral China-Japan-South Korea Finance Ministers Meeting is held in Seoul.
: North Korea test fires a submarine-based ballistic missile from its eastern coast.
: Eighth trilateral China-Japan-South Korea Foreign Ministers Meeting is held in Tokyo. The three countries agree to cooperate in urging North Korea to refrain from further provocations, especially in response to its latest ballistic missile test.
: Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s Cabinet approves the disbursement of ¥1 billion ($9.6 million) to the Foundation for Reconciliation and Healing.
: Prime Minister Abe sends a ritual donation to Yasukuni Shrine in lieu of a visit. Japan’s newly-appointed Defense Minister Inada Tomomi travels to Djibouti on her first overseas trip in her post amidst earlier speculations that she would visit the shrine.
: Group of South Korean lawmakers led by Saenuri Party Representative Na Kyung-won visits Dokdo.
: Demonstration/performance to protest the December agreement between Seoul and Tokyo on “comfort women” is held in Berlin, Germany.
: Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se holds a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister Kishida to exchange views on the implementation of the “comfort women” agreement.
: Director General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kanasugi meets South Korea counterpart Chung Byung-won in Seoul to discuss “comfort women” accord of Dec. 2015.
: Kim Hong-kyun, South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, and Japan’s Director General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kanasugi Kenji hold talks over the phone to discuss North Korea’s recent provocations.
: During a daily press briefing by the South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND), spokesperson Moon Sang-kyun hints at the possibilities of South Korea sharing radar intelligence with Japan as provided by the scheduled deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea.
: North Korea test-fires two ballistic missiles into the waters near Japan, sparking protest from Tokyo.
: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo appoints Inada Tomomi as defense minister.
: Japan’s annual Defense White Paper is published and identifies North Korea as a key threat to Japan’s national security.
: Foundation for Reconciliation and Healing holds its inauguration ceremony and first meeting of the board of directors at its secretariat in Seoul amidst protests.
: South Korea’s National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage announces plans to construct the ships (in life-size) that the Joseon Tongsinsa used during the Joseon Dynasty for its goodwill missions to Japan.
: Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union appoints its new head of the organization – Seo Chung-won, a member of the ruling Saenuri Party.
: Foreign Minister Kishida meets South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se in Laos.
: Former Chairman of the Minjoo Party of Korea Moon Jae-in visits Dokdo.
: Japanese and South Korean joint coast guard conference on maritime security is held in Incheon, marking the first such conference since one held in 2012 in Tokyo.
: Genron NPO in Japan and East Asia Institute (EAI) in South Korea, release the results of their joint survey on Japan-Korea relations.
: North Korea fires three ballistic missiles off its eastern coast.
: Members of the Minjoo Party of Korea and the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan hold an exhibition titled “Truth and Justice Cannot Fail” in the lobby of the National Assembly Members’ Office Building in Seoul.
: South Korea’s new Ambassador to Japan Lee Joon-gyu and Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio meet at Japan’s Foreign Ministry.
: Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke meets South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam, in Honolulu ahead of trilateral meeting with the US.
: Yonhap News reports that the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union has been receiving funds from the National Assembly Secretariat (NAS) under inadequate legal basis.
: The UNESCO Japan-South Korea Teachers’ Dialogue is held. The dialogue is organized by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU), the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO, and the United Nations University (UNU).
: The 2016 Warsaw Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is held in Poland. The communiqué contains a section urging Pyongyang to stop its provocations surrounding its existing nuclear and ballistic missile activities.
: South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye, appoints Lee Joon-gyu, as Seoul’s new ambassador to Tokyo.
: Bilateral fishing negotiations in Tokyo between Japan and South Korea collapse after a failure to agree on fishing quotas.
: China, Japan, and South Korea hold their tenth round of talks on the trilateral free trade deal in Seoul.
: Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) is held in Beijing.
: The US, Japan, and South Korea conduct joint ballistic missile defense exercises (Pacific Dragon) off the coast of the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai, Hawaii.
: A missing Japanese man that authorities had deemed to be abducted by North Korea is found in Japan in Fukui Prefecture.
: The 37th Japan-South Korea Buddhist Cultural Exchange Conference is held in Tokyo. The event is attended by roughly 250 participants.
: The New York Times publishes an article tracing the plight of elderly Japanese women living in a nursing home called “Nazarewon” in South Korea. Many of the women stayed with their Korean husbands during Japanese colonial rule.
: Japan’s Defense Minister Nakatani Gen and South Korean counterpart Han Min-koo meet in Singapore ahead of the Shangri-La Dialogue (Asia Security Summit).
: Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials Corp. concludes a settlement agreement with former Chinese laborers that were forced to work for the company during World War II.
: North Korea launches a missile off the eastern city of Wonsan, but is deemed to be unsuccessful.
: A joint exhibition titled “Pensive Bodhisattvas: National Treasures of Korea and Japan” kicks off in Seoul. The exhibition is co-hosted by the National Museum of Korea and Tokyo National Museum.
: The Guardian posts an article quizzing readers about which statement belongs to which leader: Donald Trump or Kim Jong Un.
: South Korea’s Parliamentary Speaker Chung Ui-hwa visits Japan for inter- parliamentary dialogue.
: UN Security Council condemns North Korean test launch of an SLBM.
: North Korea tests a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
: Japan and South Korea hold talks in Seoul regarding the implementation of the December comfort women deal.
: US-ROK-Japan trilateral consultations are held in Seoul.
: Korean School Principals Association demands that the Japanese government retract its guidelines about re-evaluating subsidies to schools with affiliations to Chongryon.
: South Korea holds parliamentary elections, prompting major newspapers in Japan to voice concerns about future bilateral relations, particularly as President Park’s ruling Saenuri Party loses parliamentary majority.
: South Korean actress Song Hye-kyo is reported to have turned down an offer from Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors to star in an advertisement based on Mitsubishi Group’s involvement in the forced labor of Koreans during Japan’s colonial rule.
: McDonalds triggers protest and calls for a boycott from Japan after one of its television commercials depicts an employee doing a Korean-style bow.
: South Korean food manufacturer Nongshim reports that its Japanese affiliate saw a 22.6 percent year-on-year increase in sales during the first quarter of 2016.
: KCNA reports that Kim Jong Un has overseen a successful test of a “heavy-lift” engine of a “new-type” of intercontinental ballistic rocket at the Sohae Space Center.
: According to The Mainichi, Japan’s Prime Minister Abe has warned North Korea that it will “pay a severe price” for claiming that it has successfully tested a new type of engine for its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
: Nike Korea removes one of its Air Jordan sneaker lines after complaints that the design incorporates images of Japan’s rising sun flag.
: South Korean Ambassador to Japan Yoo Heung-soo tells Yonhap News that he has offered his resignation.
: China, Japan, and South Korea hold working-level talks on the trilateral Free Trade Agreement in Seoul.
: South Korean Ministry of the Interior announces its plans to set up a gene bank to help verify victims of forced labor during Japan’s colonial rule.
: North Korea launches three surface-to-air missiles from its South Hamgyong province in the country’s northeastern area.
: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye meet for a brief meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC.
: The Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation announces that beer imports to Korea hit a record high in 2015, with Japan taking the number one spot.
: The Asahi Shimbun reports that Japan’s central government sent guidelines to prefectural governments about re-evaluating subsidies to Korean schools affiliated with the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon.
: Commander of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Adm. Takei Tomohisa and South Korean Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jung Ho-sub, meet in South Korea to discuss collaboration between the two navies.
: Lawyers for a Democratic Society file a petition with the South Korean Constitutional Court claiming that the December agreement on comfort women/sex slaves violates the rights of the former victims of sexual slavery.
: Seoul and Tokyo hold working-level talks in Tokyo led by Director General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Ishikane Kimihiro and Director General of the South Korean Foreign Ministry’s Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau Chung Byung-won to discuss implementation of the agreement on comfort women/sex slaves.
: The Mainichi reports that Japan has banned 22 people from re-entering Japan after visiting North Korea, as part of sanctions levied against Pyongyang.
: South Korean government protests Japan’s authorization of new high school textbooks with references to Japan’s claims to the disputed territory of Dokdo/Takeshima.
: UN Security Council issues a unanimous statement saying that North Korea’s March 17 missile launches “constituted a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.”
: North Korea fires two medium-range ballistic missiles, prompting Japan to lodge a protest through the North Korean embassy in Beijing.
: South Korea’s Gender Equality and Family Minister Kang Eun-hee says the Japan-Korea agreement on comfort women/sex slaves should be respected.
: Pyongyang launches six short-range projectiles off its east coast.
March 10, 2016: Japan lodges protest against North Korea for firing short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
March 10, 2016: Japan lodges protest against North Korea for firing short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
: UN Security Council unanimously adopts UNSC Resolution 2270, the toughest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea, in response to its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch.
: Lawyers for a Democratic Society (based in South Korea) files a suit with the Seoul Administrative Court against the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking disclosure of the documents that were exchanged during the negotiations in December between Japan and Korea over the comfort women/sex slaves.
: Japanese government grants entry to Japan by the North Korean women’s football team for their qualifying match for the Olympics despite the new sanctions.
: North Korea announces that it will halt its investigation into the abduction of Japanese citizens.
: Japan decides to levy additional unilateral sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear test in January and the latest satellite launch.
: North Korea launches its satellite, Kwangmyongsong-4.
: Officials from the US, Japan, and South Korea hold a video conference to discuss the announcement of a satellite launch by North Korea.
: North Korea lambasts the US for orchestrating the comfort women/sex slaves deal between Japan and South Korea.
: Yonhap News reports that Korea International Trade Association (KITA) trade figures place Japan as the fifth largest export market for South Korea in 2015, one place lower than the year before.
: UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in North Korea Marzuki Darusman meets families of Japanese abductees during a visit to Tokyo.
: North Korea conducts its fourth nuclear detonation.
: Japanese prosecutors indict Korean suspect in Nov. 23 Yasukuni Shrine blast.
: Foreign Minister Kishida meets South Korea counterpart Yun Byung-Se in Seoul for talks on “comfort women/sex slaves.” The meeting culminates in a deal to resolve the issue.
: Kato Tatsuya, former Seoul bureau chief for Sankei Shimbun is acquitted on criminal libel and the prosecution announces that it will not appeal the court’s decision.
: The 11th session of talks on “comfort women/sex slaves” is held in Tokyo.
: Park Yu-ha, professor at Sejong University and the author of Comfort Women of the Empire, goes on trial in South Korea for defamation.
: Kyodo News reports that Japan and North Korea secretly met in China several times to discuss the abduction issue.
: Japanese police finds a box containing feces in the parking lot of the South Korean Consulate in Yokohama, accompanied by a hand-written note declaring the package to be retaliation against the Yasukuni blast that occurred in late November.
: Despite protests from China and Russia, a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting is held on North Korea’s human rights violations.
: Kyoto District Court sentences Masamichi Kyo to 20 months in prison and suspension for four years, on grounds of violating Japan’s foreign exchange law for illegally importing matsutake mushrooms from North Korea.
: South Korean man is arrested by Japanese police in connection to a bombing in a public restroom at Yasukuni Shrine.
: Busan Cultural Foundation announces plans to submit a joint application to register records related to the Joseon Tongsinsa (diplomatic goodwill missions to Japan that took place during the Joseon era) on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register by March 2016.
: A “sex slaves” history museum opens in Daegu, the fourth such museum in South Korea.
: CNN reports that at least 12 boats with 22 decaying bodies aboard have been found shipwrecked on Japan’s coasts over the past two months; speculated to be from North Korea.
: Yonhap News reports a failed DPRK submarine-launched ballistic missile test.
: Nukaga Fukushiro, a senior lawmaker in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), attends as Japan’s special representative the state funeral for former South Korean President Kim Young-sam, who died on Nov. 22.
: UN General Assembly passes a resolution calling for North Korea to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its human rights violations.
: Mass gathering in Niigata, the “Never Forget the Abductees Assembly,” is led by parents of Yokota Megumi.
: Ishikane Kimihiro, director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meets South Korean counterpart Lee Sang-duk in Seoul.
: Tokyo Shimbun announces that it has acquired a 356-page secret manual that instructs North Korean agents about carrying out abductions abroad and evading capture.
: Japan’s Supreme Court upholds a lower court ruling to approve the purchase of the Tokyo headquarters of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon).
: Prime Minister Abe and President Park meet for the first time since May 2012 in Seoul, on the sidelines of a South Korea-Japan-China summit.
: Tenth Trilateral (China-Japan-ROK) Economic and Trade Ministers Meeting is held in Seoul; all sides agree to cooperate in establishing a free trade agreement (FTA) and promoting the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
: Some 154 professors and lecturers of Korean history release a joint statement opposing the ROK’s reinstatement of government-authored textbooks for secondary education.
: Defense Minister Nakatani Gen visits South Korea and meets Defense Minister Han Min-Koo.
: Justice Minister Iwaki Mitsuhide and Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takaichi Sanae pay respects at the Yasukuni Shrine, a day after Prime Minister Abe sends his offering, inviting protest from South Korea.
: Japanese House of Representatives Speaker Oshima Tadamori and South Korean National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui Hwa hold talks in Seoul.
: China, Japan, and South Korea hold 15th Trilateral Finance Ministers in Lima, Peru, on the sidelines of the G20, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings.
: Komeito Chief Representative Yamaguchi Natsuo visits Seoul and meets President Park to deliver a personal letter from Prime Minister Abe expressing his interest in a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the trilateral meeting involving China.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio meets South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-Se in New York.
: Yamatani Eriko, Japanese minister in charge of the abduction issue, emphasizes the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea at the 10th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC), which takes place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
: World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) establishes a panel after Japan reiterates its concerns that South Korea has adopted and maintains Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures (import bans) that are inconsistent with provisions of the SPS Agreement. For a summary of the dispute to date, see here.
: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and President Park Geun-hye meet briefly at the United Nations (UN) on the sidelines of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly.
: Eighth round of negotiations (Chief Delegates Meetings) on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among Japan, China, and South Korea is held in Beijing.
: Second trilateral Agricultural Ministers Meeting is held in Tokyo bringing together South Korean Agricultural Minister Lee Dong-phil, Chinese Vice Agriculture Minister Chen Xiaohua, and Japanese Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa.
: The 1,193rd weekly demonstration in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul is held. The demonstration includes a ceremony for Choi Hyun-yeol, who died after self-immolation on Aug. 12.
: President Park gives a commemorative address on the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation. She appeals to the Japanese government “to match with consistent and sincere actions its declaration that the view of history articulated by its previous cabinets will be upheld,” and in particular, “hope the Japanese government resolves the issue of “comfort women” victims of the Japanese Imperial Army in a speedy and proper way.”
: Three Japanese Cabinet ministers visit Yasukuni Shrine to pay their respects. In separate visits, 66 Japanese lawmakers also pay their respects. Prime Minister Abe sends a monetary offering without a physical visit.
: Emperor Akihito gives a speech at a memorial ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II, voicing “deep remorse over the last war,” and adding that “I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated.”
: Prime Minister Abe releases a statement in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
: Former Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio kneels before a memorial at Seodaemun Prison History Hall in Seoul and apologizes for Japan’s wartime aggression.
: South Korean man sets himself on fire during a protest calling on Japan to apologize for its enslavement of “comfort women/sex slaves.”
: The 16th ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers Meeting is held in Kuala Lumpur.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio meets North Korean counterpart Ri Su Yong on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Kuala Lumpur.
: President Park meets Okada Katsuya, the head of Japan’s Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the LDP has sent a written proposal to Prime Minister Abe, calling on him to “restore Japan’s honor and trust by eradicating misperceptions overseas about the so-called comfort women issue,” and to “make forthright counterarguments to groundless criticism of Japan on this issue.”
: President Park’s sister, Park Geun-ryeong is criticized for saying that “(Japan) including the Japanese emperor already made apologies to South Korea four times and it is wrong to ask continually,” during an interview with a Japanese video-sharing website, Niconico.
: South Korean actor Bae Yong-joon gets married, prompting some 200 of his fans (many of whom flew from Japan) to line up outside the venue to catch a glimpse of the actor.
: Two former “comfort women/sex slaves” file a defamation suit in a federal court in San Francisco against the Japanese government, the late Emperor Hirohito, former Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke, and seven companies, including Mitsui and Mitsubishi.
: The Korea Herald reports that a group of 524 intellectuals issued a joint statement urging the government in Tokyo to face up to its past wartime atrocities and uphold previous statements about Japan’s aggression and colonial rule.
: Senior diplomats from Japan, South Korea, and the US gather in Tokyo to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program.
: During his nine-day visit to the US, Kim Moo-sung, chairperson of the ruling Saenuri Party tells US leaders that Prime Minister Abe must not backtrack from previous statements of apology. Kim also meets US House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who urges Abe to make a clearer statement on Japan’s involvement in the sexual enslavement of women.
: Japanese Cabinet adopts its annual defense white paper, which claims Dokdo/Takeshima as part of Japan’s territorial sovereignty. South Korean government summons Kanasugi Kenji, minister and deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to protest.
: Yonhap News reports that the South Korean government has ruled out the possibility of forging a General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), citing Defense Ministry spokesperson Kim Min-seok as saying that “there are no discussions on GSOMIA or Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement nor any moves to do so.”
: Eighth round of trilateral FTA negotiations among China, Japan, and South Korea takes place in Beijing, China.
: South Korea returns one of two Korean Buddha statues to Japan, stolen by South Korean thieves from separate shrines in Tsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture in October 2012.
: Chief of the Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces Adm. Kawano Katsutoshi states that Japan’s role would be to provide “logistical support” in a contingency on the Korean Peninsula.
: Meeting between Japan and South Korea’s intelligence bureau chiefs occurs in Seoul, amidst speculations about a potential military information sharing agreement.
: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., appeals South Korean court ruling in June, stipulating the company must pay compensation to five former South Korean employees that were forced into labor during Japan’s colonial rule. The case will now go to the Supreme Court.
: Editorial in Asahi Shimbun calls for a new game plan in dealing with North Korea.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide says that while Koreans were forced to work at the sites listed on the World Heritage List, they were not “forced laborers.”
: At the 39th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany, a decision is made to inscribe the 23 facilities put forth by Japan on the World Heritage List.
: Japan Foreign Press Center lists a good summary of recent editorials in Japan of the current state of Japan-South Korea bilateral relations.
: Japanese Foreign Ministry criticizes North Korea for its delay in releasing its report on the reinvestigation into the Japanese abductees.
: Fuji TV apologizes after heavy criticism for intentionally manipulating subtitles in a segment titled, “why Koreans hate the Japanese so much” in a program aired on June 5.
: Bunka Gakuen University in Tokyo signs a memorandum of understanding with the South Korean government commemorating a donation of the traditional garment worn by Princess Deokhye, the daughter of King Gojong (1852-1919) and the last princess of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).
: Prime Minister Abe attends an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations in Tokyo, while President Park does the same at a separate event held by the Japanese Embassy in Seoul.
: South Korea’s Gwangju High Court upholds a ruling that orders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., to pay compensation to five South Korean plaintiffs on grounds of forced labor during Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula.
: Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea.
: Third Japan-Korea Future Dialogue hosted by Genron NPO and EAI takes place in Tokyo, one day ahead of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral ties.
: Japan-South Korea Foreign Ministers meeting is held in Tokyo, marking Yun Byung-se’s first visit to Japan.
: The Asahi Shimbun releases findings of its joint survey with Dong-A Ilbo on Japan-South Korea bilateral relations, which shows about 86 percent of respondents in Japan expressing a pessimistic view, and roughly 90 percent with similar sentiments in South Korea.
: Report released by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) shows South Korea’s trade dependence on Japan as lowest on record, with Japan accounting for 7.6 percent of Korea’s total volume of imports and exports during the period of January to May.
: The Japan Times reports that the Japanese government had rejected a report drafted by North Korea during negotiations in the spring, on grounds that it did not have information regarding the 12 Japanese abductees in question.
: Ihara Junichi, director-general of the Japan Foreign Ministry Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, meets South Korean counterpart Lee Sang-deok for the eighth round of talks on “comfort women/sex slaves” in Tokyo.
: In an interview with the Washington Post, President Park Geun-hye says that “considerable progress” has been made with Japan on the “comfort women/sex slaves” issue.
: Second round of talks to discuss South Korea’s concerns regarding Japan’s designation of sites on the World Heritage List is held in Seoul.
: Former Japanese Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono Yohei share their thoughts at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, urging Prime Minister Abe to honor the spirit of the 1995 Murayama statement.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that a group of 281 scholars including Wada Haruki, professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo and former executive director of the Asian Women’s Fund, issued a statement urging the Japanese government to resolve the “comfort women/sex slaves” issue and other historical matters causing friction between Japan and Korea.
: Kyoto district public prosecutor’s office indicts Ho Jong-do, the second son of the Chongryon chairman, and Kim Yong-jak, president of a food trading company in Tokyo affiliated with Chongryon, for smuggling in matsutake mushrooms into Japan from North Korea.
: Six-member Japanese delegation of the Japan-South Korea “Wise Man Group” visits Cheong Wa Dae, and meets President Park Geun-hye. The group was launched in March and held its first session in Tokyo, with the aim of exploring ways to improve Seoul-Tokyo ties.
: Japan and South Korea hold their first bilateral defense talks in more than four years, on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
: Genron NPO and the East Asia Institute (EAI) release the results of their third Japan-South Korea joint public opinion poll.
: Japan, South Korea, and the US hold trilateral talks regarding North Korea’s nuclear program in Seoul.
: Japan and South Korea hold trade talks on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Boracay, Philippines. The talks mark the first of its kind since April 2013.
: Choi Jong-moon, South Korea’s ambassador for cultural and UNESCO affairs, meets Shimmi Jun, Japan’s director-general for cultural affairs, in Tokyo to relay Korea’s concerns regarding Tokyo’s efforts to designate its sites on the World Heritage List.
: Japanese government files a complaint against South Korea at the World Trade Organization (WTO), challenging Seoul’s import bans and testing restrictions on Japanese food after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
: Sixth bilateral meeting on economic and financial cooperation takes place in Tokyo, marking a resumption of such talks since the last meeting in Korea in November 2012.
: Third China-Japan-ROK Counterterrorism Consultation is held in Beijing.
: South Korea announces it is conducting a two-day military drill near the waters of Dokdo/Takeshima, involving the South Korean Navy and the Coast Guard.
: Japan-Korea Economic Association hosts a meeting in Seoul, bringing some 300 business leaders together to discuss ways to boost bilateral economic cooperation.
: South Korean National Assembly passes a resolution condemning Japan’s efforts to designate its “Sites of the Meiji Industrial Revolution” on UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List.
: Japanese police arrest three men for illegally importing matsutake mushrooms from North Korea. One is the son of the leader of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon).
: Seventh round of negotiations on a trilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea is held in Seoul.
: North Korea announces the successful firing of a ballistic missile from a submarine. The test follows remarks by Japanese Defense Minister Nakatani Gen at the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee (2+2) meeting in New York on April 27 that Japan would retaliate against the North if it launches a missile attack on the US.
: Statement signed by nearly 200 scholars expresses a “shared concern for the way that the history of Japan and East Asia is studied and commemorated.” The statement is a result of an open forum held at the Association for Asian Studies annual meeting in Chicago in March.
: The Japan Times reports that Yamatani Eriko, Japan’s minister in charge of the abduction issue, is seeking “specific actions” from the global community at the UN symposium on human rights in levying pressure against North Korea to make progress on the issue of the Japanese abductees.
: Japanese government announces that the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has recommended Japan’s “Sites of the Meiji Industrial Revolution” as a candidate to be listed on the World Heritage List.
: Meeting on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank annual meeting, the 18th ASEAN Plus Three Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting (AFMGM + 3) is held in Baku, Azerbaijan, bringing China, Japan, and South Korea together to discuss issues of regional financial cooperation.
: Prime Minister Abe gives a speech at a joint meeting of the House and the Senate at the US Congress, with his wife Abe Akie and US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy in the House gallery.
: Hankyoreh reports the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan and the Japanese National Movement for Resolving the Issue of the Military Comfort Women asked the Japanese government to acknowledge the truth and make reparations to comfort women/sex slaves, without having to admit legal responsibility.
: The Wall Street Journal reports that the South Korean government has hired a public relations firm in Washington to make sure that South Korea’s side of the story is being told ahead of Japanese PM Abe’s speech to the US Congress.
: A group of South Koreans who were forced into labor during World War II files a class-action lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court against Japanese firms for unpaid wages and damages for hard labor.
: US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs David Shear, ROK Deputy Minister for Defense Policy Yoo Jeh-seung, and Japanese Vice Minister of Defense for International Affairs Tokuchi Hideshi lead their respective delegations in trilateral security talks in Washington.
: Foreign-affairs and defense officials from Japan and South Korea meet in Seoul for bilateral talks, the first of its kind since 2009.
: Japan releases its Diplomatic Blue Book, prompting South Korea to summon Kanasugi Kenji, a minister at the Japanese Embassy, over Japan’s claims to Dokdo/Takeshima and the framing of comfort women/sex slaves.
: Seoul summons Japanese Ambassador Bessho Koro to protest the outcome of the review of middle-school textbooks by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Japan held unofficial talks with North Korea in Dalian, China on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2015 to discuss the Japanese abductee issue.
: A letter submitted by Alexis Dudden (University of Connecticut) and signed by 19 other academics is published in the March issue of Perspectives on History. The letter responds to the efforts by Japan to sway McGraw-Hill in revising one of their textbooks.
: A group of leaders from Japan and South Korea hold their inaugural meeting in Tokyo, to discuss ways to improve bilateral relations.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio meets South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se in Seoul, marking the first visit by Kishida since assuming his post in December 2012.
: The foreign ministers of China, Japan, and South Korea meet in Seoul, marking the first trilateral meeting in three years.
: As a continuation of developments concerning McGraw-Hill, a group of 19 Japanese historians and scholars headed by Hata Ikuhiko announces plans to file a protest with the US publisher over the 2011 textbook, claiming that the book contains factual errors on the issue of the comfort women/sex slaves.
: Citing a new report released by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), Yonhap News highlights the third consecutive decline in bilateral trade between South Korea and Japan, which came to $85.95 billion in 2014, down 9.2 percent from the year before.
: Seventh round of talks between Korea’s Lee Sang-deok and Japan’s Ihara Junichi on comfort women/sex slaves, takes place in Seoul.
: Yonhap News reports that South Korea demanded the US include a reference to Dokdo on a map on its consular affairs bureau website, citing that the islets are clearly marked on a similar map for Japan.
: Korean Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs announce that Hosaka Yuji, naturalized Korean scholar of Japanese descent and current head of the Dokdo Research Institute at Sejong University, has been appointed one of five nonstanding executives of the Independence Hall of Korea.
: Reuters reports the Japanese government budgeted over $15 million to fund Japan studies at nine universities abroad, including Georgetown University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
: The 10th Trilateral Senior Foreign Affairs Officials Consultation is held in Seoul, chaired by Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Lee Kyung-soo. Japan’s delegation is led by Deputy Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke and China’s is led by Vice Minister Liu Zhenmin.
: At the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women in New York, South Korea’s Gender Equality and Family Minister Kim Hee-jung urges Japan to deal with the issue regarding the comfort women/sex slaves.
: North Korea fires two short-range missiles off its eastern coast, drawing a protest from Japan.
: In her Independence Movement Day address, President Park calls on Japan to atone for its actions during its colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula.
: Protests are held in South Korea aimed at the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and her remarks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that were interpreted as saying that the US was “siding” with Japan and its view of history.
: Seoul denounces Tokyo for sending an official representative to commemorate Takeshima Day, which was first designated by Shimane Prefecture in 2005.
: Japan and South Korea agree to let their $10 billion currency swap deal expire. The 14-year-old currency swap arrangement expires on Feb. 23, as scheduled.
: During a meeting with Nikai Toshihiro, a top executive in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), President Park Geun-hye urges Japan to resolve the issue regarding comfort women/sex slaves.
: Seoul’s Mayor Park Won-soon and Tokyo’s Gov. Masuzoe Yoichi sign an agreement at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office to boost bilateral exchanges.
: Ulleung County chief Choi Su-il signs a memorandum of understanding with Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) to set up a radio transmitter for KBS FM on Dokdo.
: Seoul summons the military attaché at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to lodge a protest against Japan’s claims to Dokdo/Takeshima in its Korean-language version of Japan’s Defense White Paper.
: Sixth round of talks on comfort women/sex slaves between Japan and South Korea take place in Tokyo.
: Members of the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union, including Seo Cheong-won, a senior council member of the Saenuri Party, visit Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.
: Wall Street Journal reports that McGraw-Hill rejected requests by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) through its New York Consulate General in November 2014 to revise the text regarding “comfort women” in a book titled Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Tokyo-based publisher Suken Shuppan applied to Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, to have the terms “comfort women” and “forcibly taken away” removed from its high school textbooks, a request that was approved by the ministry in December 2014.
: Japan Times reports that Uemura Takashi, a former Asahi Shimbun reporter and currently an adjunct lecturer at Hokusei Gakuen University in Sapporo, has filed a libel suit against Bungeishunju Ltd. and Nishioka Tsutomu, a professor at Tokyo Christian University, for erroneously claiming that Uemura had fabricated stories about comfort women/sex slaves.
: Korea Times reports that Seo Kyoung-duk, well-known in Korea for his activities regarding Dokdo/Takeshima, announced plans for a golf tournament on the disputed territory.
: United States, Japan, and South Korea sign a trilateral agreement on intelligence sharing about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
: Japan’s NHK reports on the findings of the annual poll conducted by the Japanese government on views of the Japanese people toward their neighbors. A total of 66.4 percent reported no affinity toward South Koreans, an increase of 8.4 percent from 2013.
: South Korea’s Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung-joo and Japanese counterpart Tokuchi Hideshi meet for talks in Seoul.
: Court hearing for Kato Tatsuya begins.
: South Korean experts arrive in Japan to start investigation into food safety.
: Japan urges North Korea to release an update of its investigation into the abduction of Japanese citizens.
: Supreme Court in Japan dismisses appeal by Zaitokukai of ruling that it engaged in hate speech against a Korean school in Kyoto, which finalizes a ruling that banned the group from demonstrating near the school and ordered it to pay compensation to the school’s operator.
: The Japan Times announces that Japan’s National Police Agency describes the anti-Korean group, Zaitokukai, as a potential threat to law and order in its annual security report, claiming the group is “one of the rightist civic groups operating based on radical nationalistic and anti-foreigner assertions.”
: Yomiuri Shimbun releases an apology for using the term “sex slaves” for women who were forced to work in brothels operated by the Japanese military during World War II.
: Japan, China, and South Korea trade ministers meet in Tokyo.
: Preliminary hearings begin for Kato Tatsuya, head of the Seoul bureau of the Sankei Shimbun, who was indicted over article about President Park’s whereabouts on the day the Sewol ferry sank.
: Lee Sang-deok, director general for Northeast Asia affairs at the South Korean Foreign Ministry, and Japanese counterpart Ihara Junichi meet in Seoul for consultations.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that figures for North Korean squid poaching in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has increased by three-fold in 2014.
: Tokyo lodges protest against Seoul for military drill carried out by the South Korean military near the waters of Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Sixth round of China, Japan, and South Korea FTA talks are held in Tokyo.
: The Japan Times reports that North Korea has denounced a recent UN resolution that condemns Pyongyang for human rights violations, claiming that it will retaliate against Japan, one of the bill’s sponsors.
: Japan, China, and South Korea health ministers meet in Beijing.
: Japan denies entry to Lee Seung-chul, a well-known South Korean singer, in retaliation for his performance on Dokdo/Takeshima in August, according to a release by the singer’s management.
Nov. 10, 2014: Prime Minister Abe and President Park talk when they sit beside one another at the APEC dinner hosted by China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
Nov. 10, 2014: Prime Minister Abe and President Park talk when they sit beside one another at the APEC dinner hosted by China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
: Reuters quotes Korean central bank chief that South Korea will take action to reduce the impact of the falling yen, which is undercutting South Korean exports.
: JoongAng Daily reports that the South Korean Foreign Ministry has rejected remarks by Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide in response to Seoul’s decision to scrap plans of a safety support center on Dokdo/Takeshima, which he claimed reflected Japan’s continued sovereignty of the island.
: Prime Minister Abe delivers a message through Ambassador to Korea Bessho Koro urging President Park to agree to a bilateral summit.
: Figures released by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) show that Japan-South Korea bilateral trade has decreased for three consecutive years.
: South Korean government announces cancellation of plans to establish a safety support center on Dokdo, claiming “a further review is necessary in terms of safety management, environment, and the scenery of the cultural property.” The decision incurs a backlash from Korean public amid concerns of its ramifications for Japan-Korea diplomatic relations.
: Group of family members of Koreans drafted into the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II file a lawsuit with the South Korean government for compensation.
: Yonhap reports that Japanese lenders represent more than half the market (56.2 percent) for small private lending in South Korea, despite their higher interest rates.
: Seoul court rules that Japanese company Nichi-Fujikoshi Corp. must pay 80-100 million won ($75,800-94,800) to 31 former laborers and their family members as compensation for forced labor during World War II.
: 2014 Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) is held in Seoul. Yonhap News reports that South Korea’s Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung-joo meets Tokuchi Hideshi, Japan’s vice defense minister for international affairs, and expresses concern over Japan’s assertions of the right to collective self-defense and exercising its rights in situations on the Korean Peninsula.
: Japanese delegation headed by Ihara Junichi, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, travels to Pyongyang in hopes of receiving an update from the North about progress on the abduction issue.
: PM Abe meets South Korea’s National Assembly speaker Chung Ui-hwa in Tokyo. According to Kyodo News, Abe expresses hopes for a one-on-one meeting with President Park in the near future.
: President Park greets a Japanese delegation headed by Nukaga Fukushiro at the presidential office in Seoul.
: South Korea’s National Security Advisor Kim Kwan-jin meets Japanese counterpart Yachi Shotaro in Seoul.
: Mayor of Osaka Hashimoto Toru and Sakurai Makoto, leader of Zaitokukai, meet for an “exchange of ideas” at Osaka city hall amidst concerns of rising hate speech.
: Representatives from China, Japan, and South Korea gather in Beijing to discuss issues of cyber security.
: ROK Foreign Ministry denounces PM Abe’s ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine.
: Japanese government calls for revisions to the 1996 UN report condemning the comfort women/sex slaves issues in light of the recent retraction by Asahi Shimbun that relied on questionable wartime accounts by Yoshida Seiji.
: Seoul announces that it has extended a travel ban on Kato Tatsuya.
: Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Aso Taro, meets South Korea’s Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Washington. This marks the first such bilateral meeting in almost two years.
: South Korea’s prosecutors indict Kato Tatsuya, the head of the Seoul bureau of Japan’s Sankei Shimbun, on charges of defamation.
: Japan Times reports that Ho Jong Man, head of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), has concluded a one-month trip to Pyongyang.
: Coalition of the Korean Federation for Environmental Movements and the South Korean chapter of the Friends of the Earth International urge the South Korean government to maintain its import ban on Japanese fishery products due to concerns of contamination.
: Tokyo and Seoul hold a strategic dialogue in Tokyo to discuss issues including the denuclearization of North Korea.
: Leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Kaieda Banri urges Prime Minister Abe to denounce demonstrations, particularly by ultra-nationalists groups in Japan.
: Japan and North Korea hold talks in Shenyang as part of the negotiations over the abduction of Japanese nationals.
: South Korea’s trade commission announces that it will levy punitive duties of up to 21.79 percent on ethanolamine imports from four countries including Japan.
: South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
: US Congressional Research Service (CRS) releases a report on US-Japan relations, containing a grim assessment of Japan’s ties with South Korea.
: South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong meets Japanese counterpart Saiki Akitaka in Tokyo for a strategic dialogue for the first time in nearly two years.
: Ultra-right wing group, Zaitokukai, clashes with anti-racism groups in Tokyo.
: Finance ministers of China, Japan, and South Korea meet and agree to greater trilateral cooperation on the sidelines of the G-20 Finance and Central Bank Governors meeting in Cairns, Australia.
: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s goodwill envoy Mori Yoshiro delivers a personal message to President Park Geun-hye, urging the leader to engage in top-level talks.
: Ihara Junichi, director general of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at Japan’s Foreign Ministry, meets Lee Sang-deok, director general of Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau of the Korean Foreign Ministry to resume talks on the comfort women/sex slaves issue in Tokyo. The first round of talks began April (Seoul) with the second and third rounds occurring in May (Tokyo) and July (Seoul), respectively.
: The 16th bilateral meeting of the directors general for cultural affairs takes place in Tokyo. This is the first such meeting in four years.
: Japan, China, and South Korean finance ministers meet for first time in two years on sidelines of G-20 in Australia.
: South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se meets Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Bessho Koro. Yun also meets officials from the Japan-Korea Cultural Foundation a few days later to discuss ways to promote cultural exchange between the two countries.
: South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Lee Kyung-soo, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke, and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin meet in Seoul to discuss the state of trilateral relationship.
: Fifth round of negotiations on a China-Japan-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are held in Beijing.
: The newly-appointed South Korean Ambassador to Japan Yoo Heung-soo assumes his post in Tokyo.
: Sankei Shimbun’s Seoul bureau chief appears at the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s office for questioning regarding the alleged defamation of President Park.
: In a liberation day speech, President Park urges Japan to make efforts to resolve ongoing history issues.
: Prime Minister Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine, but opts not to visit in person.
: Foreign Minister Kishida holds informal meeting with North Korean counterpart Ri Su Yong on the sidelines of the ARF.
: Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida meets South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Myanmar.
: Asahi Shimbun retracts some earlier reports on the “comfort women,” admitting that there were factual errors concerning testimonies by Yoshida Seiji (deceased).
: Lawsuit filed by a group of Japanese-Americans with the US federal court to have the “comfort women” statue removed from Glendale, California, is dismissed.
: Kyodo News reports that the Japanese Coast Guard rescued four North Korean fishermen that had drifted into Japanese waters due to engine failure.
: Citing data released by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), Yonhap News reports Japanese leasing companies are gaining more ground in the Korean secondary financial market through acquisition of local savings banks.
: Korea Times states that President Park has rebuffed proposals for meetings put forth by Prime Minister Abe including the scheduling of a bilateral summit.
July 25, 2014: President Park meets Masuzoe Yoichi, the governor of Tokyo and Prime Minister Abe’s envoy, at the Blue House in Seoul.
July 25, 2014: President Park meets Masuzoe Yoichi, the governor of Tokyo and Prime Minister Abe’s envoy, at the Blue House in Seoul.
: Officials from Japan and South Korea meet for the third round of high-level talks in Seoul, on the subject of sexual slavery or “comfort women.”
: Seoul Administrative Court orders the government to disclose the negotiation process involved in the Japan-Korea military information sharing deal that fell through in 2012.
: Poll conducted for Reuters by Nikkei Research reveals one-third of Japanese firms believe their business is hurt by political tensions with China and South Korea.
: Poll conducted by the Genron NPO and the East Asia Institute shows percentage of Japanese that hold a negative impression of South Korea increased from 37.3 percent in 2013 to 54.4 percent in 2014, while those with a positive impression fell from 31.1 to 20.56 percent.
: South Korean Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announces that it plans to apply for UNESCO designation for documents regarding those women forced into sexual slavery under the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
: UN Human Rights Committee tells Japan to adopt the phrase “enforced sex slaves” in reference to those who were forced into military brothels during the Pacific War, resulting in disapproval by the Japanese delegates at the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
: Korea Football Association (KFA) announces that there will be no friendly match this year between South Korea and Japan.
: According to Kyodo News, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio via phone that trilateral cooperation among the US, Japan, and South Korea could be disrupted if Japan-North Korea relations progress along separate tracks.
: Heads of the Japanese and South Korean delegations to the six-party talks, Ihara Junichi and Hwang Joon-kook, meet in Tokyo for talks regarding North Korea.
: South Korean National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee passes resolution denouncing latest moves by the Abe administration to expand the role of its military.
: Bloomberg News reports that Kyocera has filed a suit with the Tokyo District Court against the Japanese arm of the South Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group – Hanwha Q Cells – for patent infringement on its solar panels technology.
: Japanese wrestler-turned-politician Kanji “Antonio” Inoki announces that he and Chang Ung, North Korea’s official International Olympic Committee member, will organize an international wrestling exhibition on Aug. 30-31 in Pyongyang.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Prime Minister Abe has announced that sanctions regulating travel and money transactions involving North Korea will be lifted.
: In an address at the Seoul National University, Chinese President Xi Jinping stresses the joint suffering of China and South Korea under Japanese colonial rule. According to The Japan Times, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide reportedly said that “Any attempt by China and South Korea to coordinate in picking apart past history unnecessarily and making it an international issue is utterly unhelpful for building peace and cooperation in the region.”
: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports on inter-governmental talks between Japan and North Korea in Beijing.
: Abe Cabinet adopts a resolution lifting the ban on exercising collective self-defense and outlines a shift that relaxes restrictions placed on Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to aid an ally under attack along with activities in UN-led peacekeeping operations.
: US state of Virginia’s law regarding the use of “East Sea” alongside “Sea of Japan” in all new public school textbooks goes into effect.
: Trilateral military talks take place in Hawaii among Gen. Iwasaki Shigeru from Japan, Adm. Choi Yun-hee from South Korea, and Gen. Martin Dempsey from the US during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military exercises.
: South Korean National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee adopts resolution denouncing Japan’s review of the Kono Statement.
: Japan Times reports on the “embarrassing distraction” for the South Korean government of a lawsuit brought on by its own nationals – 122 Korean survivors or “comfort women” who are claiming that the South Korean government abused them as prostitutes for US troops stationed in Korea during the 1960s and ‘70s.
: South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong meets US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in Washington to relay Seoul’s concerns regarding Japan’s review of the Kono Statement.
: In an interview with the Korea Times, CEO of the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), Byun Choo-suk, cites the need to reduce dependence on foreign visitors from China and Japan, and to diversify the targets of Korean tourism.
: South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-Yong summons Japanese ambassador to protest Japan’s review of the Kono statement.
: South Korean Navy holds live-fire drills near Dokdo/Takeshima Islands. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide denounces the exercises.
: Abe administration announces the decision to uphold the 1993 Kono Statement that includes an apology for sexual enslavement of women by the Japanese imperial army during World War II. The finding that there were multiple consultations between Tokyo and Seoul over the wording of the statement sparks outcry from the South Korean government.
: During his confirmation hearing in the US Senate, Mark Lippert, nominee for US ambassador to South Korea, expresses his intention to work to enhancing dialogue between Seoul and Tokyo.
: Korea Herald reports that Standard Chartered Korea has agreed to sell two of its units – SC Savings Bank and SC Capital – to a Japan-based finance company, J Trust. Pending approval from financial regulators in both Japan and Korea, this will mark the first acquisition of a Korean-based savings bank by a Japanese lender.
: Korea Times reports the Japanese embassy rejected all South Korean female applicants 26 years or older for working holiday visas in Japan, in a bid to curb prostitution.
: Bae Chun-hee, a former South Korean “comfort woman” or “sexual slave” for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War 2 passes away at the age of 91. Her death leaves 54 Korean “sexual slave” survivors, from an initial 237 that were registered on the government list.
: Letter to the US White House endorsed by Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Mark Begich (D-AK) urges President Barack Obama to increase efforts to address the issue of Japan’s sexual enslavement of women during World War II.
: Japan Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori, South Korea Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel meet on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
: As a result of negotiations in Stockholm, North Korea agrees to open a new investigation into the abduction of Japanese citizens, reversing Pyongyang’s earlier insistence that the abduction issue had already been settled.
: Yonhap News reports that Seoul and Washington’s support for improvement in Japan-North Korea relations is conditioned on progress in denuclearizing North Korea.
: Ihara Junichi, director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and Song Il-ho, North Korea’s ambassador for talks to normalize relations with Japan, meet in the Swedish capital of Stockholm.
: Japan and South Korea hold director-general level talks in Tokyo regarding the Japanese Army’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II.
: Japan’s Toyo Engineering Corporation (TOYO) announces that a consortium including TOYO and three South Korean companies has won a contract worth $3 billion to build a large gas chemical complex in western Turkmenistan.
: PRC Vice Environment Minister Li Ganjie, and ROK and Japanese Environment Ministers Yoon Seong-kyu and Ishihara Nobuteru hold 16th trilateral Environment Ministers Meeting in Daegu, Korea.
: During his Asia trip at a press conference in Seoul with President Park, President Obama describes Japan’s wartime system of sexual slavery as “a terrible and egregious violation of human rights.” According to Kyodo News, Prime Minister Abe said that although he is pained to think about what those women went through, that the issue should not be politicized.
: China-ROK-Japan Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum, sponsored by Xinhua, JoongAng Ilbo, and Nikkei, opens in Jiangsu province, China.
: Japan Times reports that a lawsuit has been filed with the Tokyo District Court against the Japanese government and Yasukuni Shrine, claiming that PM Abe’s visit in December of 2013 violated the constitutional principle of separation of state and religion.
April 22, 2014: Japan Times reports that a total of 149 Japanese lawmakers including two Cabinet ministers visited the Yasukuni Shrine on the morning of April 22, prompting protests from both Seoul and Beijing.
April 22, 2014: Japan Times reports that a total of 149 Japanese lawmakers including two Cabinet ministers visited the Yasukuni Shrine on the morning of April 22, prompting protests from both Seoul and Beijing.
: In response to the sinking of a ferry off the Coast of Jindo Island in South Korea on April 16, Defense Minister Onodera announces that Japanese divers and minesweepers are ready to be dispatched as needed. According to Yomiuri Shimbun, PM Abe also sent a message to President Park on April 17 expressing condolences for the tragedy and indicating willingness to assist in any way possible.
: China-ROK-Japan International Forum for the Trilateral Cooperation 2014 is held in Seoul.
: Kyodo News reports that an Osaka-based citizens’ group has filed a lawsuit with the Osaka District Court, asserting that PM Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine last December violated their constitutional right to “live in peace,” and that his visit worsened Japan’s relations with neighboring countries.
: A trilateral meeting is hosted by the US, bringing together Ihara Junichi, the Japanese director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Hwang Joon-kook, the South Korean special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, and Glyn Davies, the US special representative for North Korea policy. A main item on the agenda is facilitating cooperation to counter North Korean provocations.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japanese Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori has ordered a Maritime Self-Defense Force (SDF) destroyer to the Sea of Japan to shoot down any incoming ballistic missiles launched by North Korea. A day later, the US announces that it will deploy two additional Aegis destroyers to Japan by 2017 to strength overall missile defenses against North Korea’s provocations.
: Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports agreement was reached between Tokyo and Pyongyang in unofficial negotiations in Beijing with Japan agreeing to consider reducing some sanctions against North Korea and Pyongyang indicating that it will review the case of abductions of Japanese nationals.
: South Korea’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yong summons Japan’s Ambassador to Seoul Bessho Koro to protest new Japanese elementary school textbooks that describe Dokdo/Takeshima as part of Japan’s “sovereign territory.”
: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signs the “East Sea bill” into law. The bill, requiring all new public school textbooks to use a dual-naming system for the body of water between Japan and South Korea, will take effect from July 2.
: Japan announces that it has eased its self-imposed arms export ban for the first time in nearly 50 years. The Japan Times reports that South Korea immediately called for “the maximum level of transparency” from Japan in implementing the new guidelines.
: Ihara Junichi, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Song Il-ho, North Korean ambassador in charge of normalization of relations with Japan, meet in Beijing.
: Pyongyang test-fires two intermediate-range ballistic missiles from a site north of Pyongyang into the sea off its eastern coast.
: US plays intermediary in bringing together President Park Geun-hye and PM Abe for their first face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. The three leaders reaffirm the necessity of cooperation in confronting North Korea’s ongoing provocations.
: Korea International Trade Association (KITA) releases a report that describes the competition between Japan and South Korea on exports as being at an all-time high, based on the Export Similarity Index (ESI).
: Director of the Northeast Asia Division of Japan’s MOFA Ono Keiichi and North Korean counterpart Ryu Song-il meet for informal talks on the sidelines of the Red Cross meeting in Shenyang, China. As a follow-up to the previous session on March 3, a key agenda was whether to resume formal negotiations at the senior level between the two countries.
: Kyodo News states that Furuya Keiji, Japanese Cabinet minister in charge of the North Korean abduction issue, announced that Japan has no intention of lifting economic sanctions or resuming aid to the North without the return of Japanese nationals abducted by the North Korean regime.
: Japanese MOFA announces that the parents of Megumi Yokota (who was abducted at 13 from Japan in 1977 and subsequently died in 1994) were allowed to meet with Megumi’s daughter, Kim Eun-gyong (now 26), for the first time in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
: South Korean Ministry of National Defense announces that North Korea test-fired 25 short-range rockets off its east coast into open water.
: PM Abe announces that his government will not revise the Kono Statement, a landmark 1993 apology to those women that were forced to serve in wartime military brothels.
: Senate Judiciary Committee of the state of New York passes a bill that would require the dual-labeling of Sea of Japan and East Sea in the state’s school textbooks.
: Partners Toshiba of Japan and SanDisk of the US separately file civil lawsuits against South Korea’s SK Hynix for damages from alleged theft of sensitive information regarding their flash memory chip technology.
: Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Saiki Akitaka arrives in Seoul to meet counterpart, Cho Tae-yong. Chosun Ilbo reports that Saiki’s visit was cut short once it was clear that the two sides would not come to a conclusion about a future summit. South Korean MOFA releases a statement that Seoul has no intention of holding a bilateral summit without an “understandable” resolution of Japan’s wartime actions.
: The 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women is held at United Nations headquarters in New York. China’s People’s Daily reports that the Chinese envoy urged Japan to acknowledge its role in recruiting sex slaves during World War II and make formal apologies for its deeds.
: Officials from China, Japan, and South Korea take part in a two-day Table Top Exercise (TTX) in Tokyo, aimed at strengthening capacity to deal with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Participants are from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China, Emergency Management Office of China’s State Council; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cabinet Office of Japan, and; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Emergency Management of South Korea.
: Trade representatives from China, Japan, and South Korea meet in Seoul for the fourth round of the trilateral free trade agreement (FTA) talks. The talks are aimed at basic guidelines on tariff reduction, opening service trade, and other issues related to investment.
: According to The Mainichi, Ono Keiichi, director of the Northeast Asia Division of Japan’s MOFA, and Ryu Song-il, chief of the North Korean MOFA’s Japanese Affairs section, hold informal talks on the sidelines of the Red Cross meeting in Shenyang, China. They reportedly discuss North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals in the ‘70s and ‘80s and Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.
: North Korea fires two short-range missiles off its eastern coast – the second such launch within the span of a week. Japan lodges a formal protest with North Korea.
: Ihara Junichi, director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) meets South Korean counterpart, Lee Sang-deok, director general of Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau.
: Former Japanese Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi visits Seoul, and meets three South Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
: Virginia’s House of Delegates votes 81 to 15 to mandate the inclusion of both “Sea of Japan” and “East Sea” in all textbooks approved by the Board of Education after July 1.
: Editorial in the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) equates PM Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and attempts to revise the Japanese constitution to acts by Adolf Hitler.
: South Korea protests remarks by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo that Japan is considering taking the territorial dispute over Dokdo/Takeshima to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
: Senate in the US state of Georgia unanimously passes a resolution describing the Korean Peninsula as “bound by its East and West Seas.” Another bill passes on March 3 – Senate Resolution 941 that urges Congress to increase the number of visas awarded to Korean citizens in specialty industries.
: Seoul government denounces Tokyo’s claims to Dokdo/Takeshima in its new teaching manuals for Japanese textbooks for middle and high schools, demanding that Japan withdraw the manuals.
: At a news conference on his first day at the job, Chairman Momii Katsuto of the Japanese public broadcaster NHK asserts that “every country” had some form of institutionalized wartime brothel similar to Japan’s “comfort women.” The chairman was called to appear before the Diet on Jan. 31, subsequently apologizing for his inappropriate comments.
: Virginia State Senate approves a bill that calls for new textbooks for schools to identify the waters between Japan and South Korea as the “East Sea” in addition to its current designation as “Sea of Japan.”
: Joint South Korea-China memorial honoring Ahn Jung-geun, a revered South Korean independence activist who assassinated Japan’s Governor General of Korea It Hirobum, is unveiled at a Harbin railway station in China.
: Document attached to US Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2014 urges US secretary of state to encourage Japanese government to address the comfort women/sex slave issue, as per Resolution 121 that passed the House of Representatives in July 2007.
: South Korean Foreign Ministry unveils its new promotional video on Dokdo.
: Yonhap reports that the South Korean government has called off a series of proposed defense meetings and military exchange programs with Japan, in response to Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine.
: Prime Minister Abe visits Yasukuni Shrine, triggering strong criticism from Beijing and Seoul as well as a statement of “disappointment” from Washington over Japan’s actions in exacerbating overall tensions in the region.
: Japanese government announces that it will provide 10,000 rounds of ammunition to the South Korean military involved in the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) in South Sudan. South Korean Defense Ministry announces four days later that the ammunition will be sent back as soon as additional military supplies arrive.
: Japan adopts its new National Security Strategy, which contains references to North Korea’s provocations and the need to resolve the abduction issue.
: Japan and South Korea conduct a joint search and rescue exercise (SAREX) near the South Korea-controlled reef of Ieodo/Socotra/Suyan rock in the East China Sea.
: South Korean Foreign Ministry announces the budget to promote South Korea’s sovereignty claims over Dokdo will increase by roughly 60 percent, from 4.24 billion won to 6.84 billion won ($ 6.5 million).
: Mainichi Shimbun reports that Tokyo has accepted South Korea’s expanded Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), despite the fact that there now exist some overlap with Japan’s ADIZ in the East China Sea.
: Asahi Shimbun reports concerns expressed by both South Korea and China of Tokyo’s Dec. 6 enactment of a state secrets protection law, which is perceived by many as evidence of further remilitarization of the country.
: China, Japan, and South Korea sign an agreement at a meeting held in Taishan, China to form a network to enable swift exchange of information in a nuclear emergency. Officials from China’s National Nuclear Security Administration, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), and South Korea’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission attend.
: According to Yonhap, South Korean politicians and scholars have expressed their intent to gain United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Memory of the World status for the hundreds of thousands of Koreans who were conscripted into labor and military service by Japanese forces during its colonial rule.
: North Gyeongsang Provincial Policy Agency in South Korea announces that the month of November has seen more applications to serve as police on Dokdo/Takeshima than any other single month since recruitment began in September 2011.
: Third round of negotiations on a trilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) involving China, South Korea, and Japan is held in Tokyo, Japan. The agenda includes items such as trade in goods, services, investment, competition policies, and intellectual property.
: South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Tai-young clarifies that Japan has expressed its intention to not unilaterally exercise its right to collective self-defense on the Korean Peninsula without prior consent from Seoul.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide expresses dismay over plans by China and South Korea to erect a monument in Harbin China honoring Ahn Jung-geun, a Korea independence fighter who assassinated Japan’s first governor-general, Ito Hirobumi.
: An online poll released by the Korea Rural Economic Institute finds that eight out of 10 South Koreans have reduced fish consumption due to safety concerns associated with Japan’s Fukushima plant disaster.
: Japan’s Vice Minister of Defense Nishi Masanori and Korean counterpart Baek Seung-joo meet on the sidelines of the Seoul Security Dialogue.
: Eighth Trilateral Senior Foreign Officials Consultation takes place in Seoul. South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Kyung-soo, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke participate.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Japan Association of Corporate Executives and the Japan-Korea Economic Association issued a statement that expresses deep concern at the South Korean court ruling on compensation for forced labor during World War II.
: US Special Envoy for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies, South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Cho Tae-yong, and Japan’s Director General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Ihara meet in Washington to discuss denuclearization of North Korea.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio, states that the Abe administration stands by the 1995 statement (also known as the ‘Murayama Statement’) on Japan’s wartime conduct.
: Trilateral meeting addressing environmental problems is held in Nanjing, with participation of Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research, Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences.
: Bank of Korea (BOK) releases data suggesting that South Korea’s cumulative current account surplus may surpass that of Japan’s for the first time, with South Korea’s at $42.22 billion and Japan’s at $41.53 billion during the period of January to August.
: Gwangju Local Court rules in favor of four Korean women who were forcibly recruited as laborers during Japanese colonialism, ordering Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay compensation.
: South Korean Foreign Ministry summons Takashi Kurai, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy, over Japan’s video clip claiming sovereignty over Dokdo/Takeshima.
: South Korea conducts military exercises to defend Dokdo, prompting objections by Japan. According to the JoongAng Daily, the South Korean military initially planned to not disclose the drills to the media, but decided to do so after Japan repeated its claims to Takeshima through the video clip on its MOFA website.
: Mainichi Shimbun reports that Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party special committee on security and land legislation will examine land acquisition by a South Korean company near a Maritime Self-Defense Force base on Tsushima Island, Nagasaki Prefecture.
: South Korean Foreign Ministry releases a statement protesting a recent video clip on Japan’s MOFA website claiming sovereignty over Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Furuya Keiji, Japan’s state minister for the North Korea abductees issue, visits Yasukuni Shrine, prompting a protest from Seoul.
: Shindo Yoshitaka, Japan’s internal affairs and communications minister, visits Yasukuni Shrine. He is part of a 157-member bipartisan delegation of Japanese lawmakers, which, according to Kyodo News, is close to the recent record of 168 (or roughly a quarter of Japan’s parliamentarians) that paid homage at the Spring Festival in April.
: Seoul expresses displeasure with PM Abe’s ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine, as the Japan begins its annual Autumn Festival.
: Leaders of Japan and South Korea meet at the ASEAN+3 Summit in Brunei. PM Abe asks governments to relax or eliminate import restrictions on Japanese produce.
: US, Japan, and South Korea conduct a two-day drill off the southern coast of Korea aimed at joint maritime search and rescue operations and disaster response, prompting the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) to react that the drills are “nuclear war exercises.”
: Japan Times quotes a Japanese fisheries agency official as stating that Tokyo will request the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee under the World Trade Organization (WTO) discuss South Korea’s restriction of imports of Japanese marine produce.
: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo holds a brief conversation with South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye at the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Bali.
: Seoul criticizes Japan for attempting to downplay the radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear facility after revelations of toxic water leakage by TEPCO.
: Culture ministers of China, Japan, and South Korea meet in Gwangju, South Korea, to discuss greater mutual understanding among the three countries.
: South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se meets Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
: Kyodo News reports that Japan is not interested in unconditional talks with North Korea in response to North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan’s proposal to revive the stalled Six-Party Talks without preconditions.
: Japan’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Sugiyama Shinsuke visits Seoul and meets First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun to talk about ways to break the stalemate in bilateral relations.
: South Korea announces the decision to ban imports of all fish products from eight Japanese prefectures (Fukushima, Aomori, Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Iwate, Tochigi, and Chiba), after deeming them to be vulnerable to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
: United Nations Commission tasked with investigating North Korean human rights abuses visits Japan to hold hearings on Pyongyang’s past abductions of Japanese nationals.
: Seoul strongly condemns the visits of Japanese Cabinet members to Yasukuni Shrine and their homage to the war dead in commemoration of the 68th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
: Korea Herald reports 12 former comfort women (sex slaves) have filed for mediation with the Seoul Central District Court, asking for compensation from the Tokyo government for its enslavement of women during World War II.
: Mainichi Shimbun quotes Prime Minister Abe’s remarks describing his intent to amend Japan’s constitution as his “historic mission.”
: South Korean and Japanese air forces participate jointly in a two-week Red Flag Alaska training exercise, the first such joint participation in the drill by the two countries.
: South Korea denounces Japan’s latest moves to authorize the use of its wartime national flag (the Rising Sun).
: South Korean National Assembly announces the budget allocated to finance archival and legal efforts to reaffirm Korea’s claim to sovereignty over Dokdo will decrease from 4.24 billion won in 2013 to 3.47 billion won ($3.1 million) in 2014.
: South Korea lodges a formal protest with Japan over Tokyo’s first opinion poll regarding Dokdo/Takeshima. The survey reportedly claimed that six out of 10 Japanese respondents considered the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima to be Japanese territory.
: Japan Times covers the story of Oh Seon-hwa, an ethnic Korean professor at Takushoku University in Japan, who was reportedly denied entry into Korea and sent back to Japan on July 27, based on Article 76 of the Korean immigration law that prevents entry of persons that may prove harmful to the country.
: Korea Football Association (KFA) issues a statement claiming that the Japanese spectators’ waving of the “rising sun” flag had first incited South Korean fans at the East Asia Cup match in Seoul.
: South Korea’s Busan High Court orders Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., to pay 80 million won ($70,000) each to the families of five deceased South Koreans who were conscripted into labor during Japan’s colonial rule.
: A bronze statue to honor “comfort women” (sex slaves) is unveiled at a park in Glendale, California, prompting the Tokyo government to express its displeasure.
: Second round of trilateral talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China, Japan, and South Korea takes place in Shanghai.
: Korean spectators unveil a banner reading “A nation that forgets its history has no future” during the East Asian cup soccer match in Seoul between Japan and Korea.
: Japan’s Kyodo News reports that Seoul did not invite Tokyo to its 60th Korean War armistice anniversary ceremony in Seoul.
: Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates Tim Hugo announces he will introduce legislation in next year’s session that will require all future textbooks approved by the Virginia Board of Education to use both East Sea and Sea of Japan to refer to the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
: An opening ceremony is held for the new building for the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.
: Foreign Minister Kishida meets South Korea’s First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Kim Kyou-hyun.
: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) blasts Japan for violations against human rights, citing remarks by Mayor Hashimoto about the necessity of comfort women (sex slaves).
: South Korea’s First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Kim Kyou-hyun meets Japan’s incoming Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka to exchange views on bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
: Seoul High Court orders Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to pay 100 million won each ($88,000) as reparation for wartime forced labor to four Korean plaintiffs. Tokyo government responds that compensation rights were resolved under the 1965 treaty.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio, meets South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Brunei.
: Yonhap News details the decision by the central banks of Japan and Korea to reduce the currency swap facility between the two countries by the $3 billion.
: South Korea and Japan reach an agreement to maintain the amount of fish each party can catch in the other’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs) for the next 12 months.
: Mainichi Shimbun reports that fights broke out in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, after roughly 200 members of Zaitokukai (Citizens Against Special Privileges for Foreigners in Japan) shouting anti-Korean slogans clashed with members of a counter-protest group shouting “Racists go home.” The police reported that eight people were arrested as a result of the brawl.
: Japan requests the return of a pair of medieval Korean artifacts taken from its temples in Korea earlier this year. The Korea Times notes that Seoul has been slow to reach a decision, given pressure by Buddhist groups to keep the statues in Korea.
: In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expresses concerns over how a lack of sensitivity to wartime issues can generate negative impact on regional stability, citing Mayor Hashimoto’s remarks regarding comfort women (sex slaves).
: Defense ministers of the US, Japan, and South Korea meet on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore to discuss a coordinated response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and related provocations.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that roughly 100 people gathered in front of the Tokyo office of South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo to protest the latest editorial describing the atomic bombings against Japan as divine punishment for its war crimes.
: United Nations (UN) Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) responds to Japan’s periodic report to the committee by urging Tokyo to increase efforts to educate its public about the comfort women/sex slave issue.
: Kyodo News reports that Japan is considering the resumption of bilateral talks with North Korea, adding that future talks will be conducted through the Foreign Ministry rather than “backdoor” channels.
: North Korea’s Rodong Shinmun article urges Japan to apologize and provide compensation for the suffering of Koreans during Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula.
: JoongAng Ilbo publishes an editorial that describes the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as “God’s vengeance,” prompting the Japanese embassy in Seoul to file protests with the South Korean newspaper.
: In an interview with Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Abe equates a visit to Yasakuni Shrine with those made by US presidents to the Arlington National Cemetery.
: Japan Times reports that Japanese protestors in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district, home to a large ethnic Korean population, made reference to Korean residents as “cockroaches” and called for their immediate “extermination.”
: JoongAng Daily reports that South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson rebukes Mayor Hashimoto’s statement regarding sex slaves as being “below the level of common sense,” and criticizes Prime Minister Abe for posing in the cockpit of a plane numbered 731.
: Seoul criticizes Tokyo over Iijima Isao’s visit to Pyongyang, expressing regret over not having been informed earlier of the envoy’s visit.
: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s special Cabinet adviser Iijima Isao visits Pyongyang to make progress on the “abduction issue.”
: Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru’s remarks that the Japanese military’s use of comfort women (sex slaves) was necessary during World War II raise the ire of neighboring countries as well as within Japan.
: South Korean President Park Geun-hye addresses a joint session of the US Congress, where she states that “those who are blind to the past cannot see the future,” alluding to the ongoing row over history with Japan.
: The 15th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting takes place in Kitakyushu, Japan, amid rising diplomatic tensions. The meeting is attended by South Korea’s Environment Minister Yoon Seong-kyu, China’s Vice Environment Minister Li Ganjie, and Japan’s Environment Minister Ishihara Nobuteru.
: Japan’s Minister of State for the North Korean Abduction Issue Furuya Keiji attends symposiums in Washington DC and New York, to raise awareness regarding North Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese nationals.
: South Korean National Assembly passes a resolution (238 votes in favor, with one abstaining) denouncing Japan’s latest actions regarding Yasukuni Shrine as well as its perceptions of history.
: Japanese State Minister for Administrative Reforms and Public Servant Systems Reforms, Inada Tomomi visits Yasukuni Shrine, garnering protests from both Seoul and Beijing.
: Seoul calls in Ambassador Bessho to lodge an official protest against Prime Minister Abe’s remarks defending officials’ visits to Yasukuni Shrine.
: South Korea states that it plans to open a Japanese version of the website for Dokdo/Takeshima by Aug. 31, along with versions in six other foreign languages including English and Chinese, in a bid to step up its claims to sovereignty of the disputed territory.
: Kyodo News quotes Prime Minister Abe’s remarks during a parliamentary session, responding to criticism from South Korea and China on the Yasukuni Shrine visits by claiming that “My ministers will not yield to any kind of intimidation.”
: Shimane Prefecture in Japan decides to extend fishing rights in waters around Dokdo/Takeshima islets for another 10 years, despite the fact that no such fishing operations have taken place since June 1954.
: Japanese officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro visit Yasukuni Shrine despite strong protests from both South Korea and China.
: South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se cancels scheduled trip to Japan in response to the recent Yasuskuni Shrine visits by Japanese cabinet members.
: South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries releases plans to establish a maritime police station on Ulleung Island in the Sea of Japan/East Sea (an island west of Dokdo/Takeshima) in order to strengthen security of the easternmost islets.
: South Korea’s Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae meets Ambassador Bessho to discuss further cooperation in dealing with continuing threats from North Korea.
: Trilateral South Korea, Japan, and China summit is postponed, with speculation that the territorial dispute between Japan and China is the cause.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide says that a prerequisite for restarting dialogues with North Korea will be for the North to move toward denuclearization.
: Prime Minister Abe and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen sign NATO-Japan Political Declaration for a Stronger Partnership.
: Japanese government states that it will erect a permanent missile defense system in Okinawa Prefecture. Mainichi Shimbun quotes Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori as saying that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces will locate the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles at two of its bases “as soon as possible within April.”
: North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visits South Korea, becoming the first in his capacity to visit the country.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Japan has dispatched two Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyers to the Sea of Japan/East Sea, while the USS Shiloh, a guided missile cruiser with advanced interceptor missile capability has departed from Yokosuka Naval Base.
: Yomiuri Shimbun article claims that the Machida City Board of Education in western Tokyo has reversed its initial decision to exclude a school with connections to North Korea from its safety alarm program for students. A city board official apologized, adding that “We regret that we reacted in response to the social circumstances (surrounding North Korea).”
: Japan announces its decision to extend the life of the sanctions levied on North Korea by two more years, which were set to expire on April 13, 2013.
: Hankook Ilbo reports the latest public opinion in which 62.4 percent of the South Koreans viewed the new Abe administration in a negative light, while the level of trust that the Japanese harbors toward South Koreans fell from 31.6 percent in 2010 to 13.4 percent.
: Kyodo News reports a statement by the Foreign Ministry that “We [South Korea] strongly protest against Japan’s Diplomatic Bluebook that contains its unjust territorial claim over Dokdo, which is an integral part of our territory.” The publication in question continues to refer to Dokdo/Takeshima as Japan’s “inherent territory.”
: President Park appoints Lee Byung-kee as the new ambassador to Japan.
: Daegu chapter of the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union and the Hiroshima Prefecture branch of Japan’s Teacher’s Union announce that they have finished work on a joint historical textbook after seven years of collaborative work and discussions.
: Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology releases the screening results of textbooks to be adopted from April 2014 for high school sophomores, which devote more space to the Dokdo/Takeshima and Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Park Joon-yong, chief of the South Korean Foreign Ministry’s Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau, summons Kurai Takashi, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to lodge a protest against the textbook approval.
: A Buddhist temple in Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan wins bid to take control of a building that served as the headquarters for the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (‘Chongryon’). The building was initially seized due to unpaid debts.
: South Korea, Japan, and China meet for the first round of negotiations on the trilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), in Seoul.
: Yonhap News states that the US is pushing for more trilateral US-South Korea-Japan military exercises, much like that of the Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise of 2012.
: United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) approves a framework to establish a “Commission of Inquiry” into alleged human-rights abuses in North Korea.
: North Korea threatens to strike US bases in Japan as a response to the use of B-52 bombers by the US that are capable of carrying nuclear cruise missiles.
: Japan Times article states that the Tokyo government will levy further sanctions against North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank in retaliation for its continued development of nuclear weapons.
: US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen visits both South Korea and Japan in an effort to gain greater support for sanctions against North Korea.
: KCNA releases a statement from the Foreign Ministry denouncing Japan’s sanctions against North Korea and warning that Japan would also face consequences if it continues to ‘collude’ with the US.
: International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) releases findings from its Military Balance 2013, which describes Asia’s overall defense spending as having overtaken that of Europe for the first time in 2012.
: Financial Times reports that Samsung Electronics has agreed to take an equity stake in Sharp, marking the first capital tie-up between major consumer electronics brands of South Korea and Japan.
: President Park and Prime Minister Abe agree to cooperate on implementing further sanctions against North Korea – the first telephone call since Park’s inauguration.
: In an interview with Monthly Chosun, Prime Minister Abe says that he aims to issue a new statement on Japan’s understanding of World War II in 2015. He also adds that the issue of the ‘comfort women’ should be “left in the hands of experts and historians.”
: South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson denounces remarks made by Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio concerning Japan’s claims to Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Park Geun-hye is sworn in as the 11th president of South Korea. She meets Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro amidst heightened tensions over the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute.
: Yonhap News reports that major civic groups have decided to boycott Japanese products in protest over Japan’s claims to Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Senior Japanese official attend ceremony to commemorate Takeshima Day in Shimane Prefecture. South Korean protestors gather outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul and demand that Seoul lodge a formal complaint.
: Seoul government urges Japan to cancel the scheduled Takeshima Day celebrations in Shimane Prefecture.
: KCNA expresses anger at Japan’s latest bans against Chongryon, claiming that the organization is a “legal organization representing interests of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Japan.”
: According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, the latest Gallup Poll shows that the Japanese view China as the bigger military threat than North Korea, with 79 percent of respondents identifying China and 77 percent for North Korea. Moreover, 37 percent view South Korea as a military threat, which is an increase from 23 percent from the same survey in 2012.
: President-elect Park meets former Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono Yohei to discuss issues regarding history, Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test, and ways to push South Korea-Japan bilateral relations forward.
: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and outgoing President Lee Myung-bak have a 20-minute telephone meeting after the latest nuclear test by Pyongyang, the first such discussion since Abe took office in December.
: North Korea conducts its third nuclear test in defiance of UN resolutions, with Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announcing that it used a “miniaturized” and lighter nuclear device than the previous two attempts.
: In response to North Korea’s nuclear test, Japan decides to levy new bans on senior officials of the General Association of Korean Residents (Chongryon).
: The Hankyoreh reacts to the Japanese government’s decision to build the Territorial and Sovereign Issues Planning and Coordination Office, which will serve as the central policy planning organ regarding Dokdo/Takeshima, the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and the Kuril Islands, saying it is “an indication that the Japanese central government will be directly claiming Dokdo as Japanese territory, which up until this point has been spearheaded by Shimane Prefecture.”
: Japan launches two spy satellites to collect information for its defense and intelligence agencies concerning North Korea’s military activities. The first such satellite was launched in 2003.
: In line with the unanimous adoption of the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2087 condemning North Korea’s rocket launch of Dec. 12, 2012, Japan freezes assets of six organizations and four individuals with alleged involvement in the rocket launch.
: Regional secretary generals of the ASEAN-Korea (Chung Hae-moon), ASEAN-Japan (Ohnishi Yoshikuni), and ASEAN-China Center (Ma Mingqiang) meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN forum in Laos. The meeting marks the first of its kind between the ASEAN center heads of the three nations. The focus is on advancing ASEAN + 3 cooperation.
: Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) announce its plans to provide Overseas Untied Loan Insurance for the joint Korea-Japan project to construct a diesel power plant in Jordan. The Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) is also financing the project with a $320 million loan and $107 million in guarantees.
: According to the Korea Times, newly appointed Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Bessho Koro gave his first address titled “Future of Japan and Korea Relations” in a lecture series hosted by the Asia Society Korea Center in Seoul.
: ROK Vice Foreign Minister Ahn Ho-Young meets Japanese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kawai Chikao to improve relations and discuss North Korea’s rocket launch.
: Prime Minister Abe meets Hwang Woo Yea, a close aide to President-elect Park and the chairman of the ruling Saenuri Party.
: Delegation of senior lawmakers from the ruling Saenuri Party and the main opposition Democratic United Party visits Japan in their capacity as members of the South Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union. The visit was arranged by the Korean Residents Union in Japan, in hopes of furthering Seoul-Tokyo bilateral relations.
: Before meeting Japanese Special Envoy and former Japanese Finance Minister Nukaga Fukushiro, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan describes relations with Tokyo as a “big challenge” for Seoul in 2013.
: South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye meets Special Envoy Nukaga and receives the letter he delivers from newly elected Prime Minster Abe Shinzo.
: South Korean court sides with China in the competing requests for extradition between Beijing and Tokyo over the custody of Liu Qiang, the Chinese man accused of arson of the Yasukuni Shrine as well as for hurling gasoline bombs at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. Liu told South Korean authorities that his late grandmother was forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s Imperial Army during World War II.
: The voting to designate Japan’s prime minister takes place at both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors; Abe Shinzo becomes the 96th prime minister (the 63rd person to assume the post).
: According to Yonhap News, President-elect Park Geun-hye has turned down a proposed visit by former Finance Minister Nukaga Fukushiro, the special envoy designated by incoming Prime Minister Abe, due to a scheduling conflict.
: Yonhap News reports that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has called for more satellites and rockets to be launched following the country’s successful effort in early December.
: Asahi Shimbun includes an article citing plans by incoming Prime Minister Abe to send a special envoy to South Korea to improve relations and the possible cancellation of the central government support for a national “Takeshima Day.”
Dec. 21, 2012: South Korea releases its defense white paper, reiterating its claims to Dokdo/Takeshima. Japan protests, with Seoul sending a rebuttal letter stating that “Dokdo is an integral part of Korean territory historically, geographically, and under international law.”
Dec. 21, 2012: South Korea releases its defense white paper, reiterating its claims to Dokdo/Takeshima. Japan protests, with Seoul sending a rebuttal letter stating that “Dokdo is an integral part of Korean territory historically, geographically, and under international law.”
: Japan’s incoming Prime Minister Abe Shinzo congratulates Park Geun-hye on her recent win in the South Korean presidential elections.
: Park Geun-hye wins South Korean presidential elections.
: The LDP wins by a landslide in Japan’s national parliamentary elections.
: North Korea launches a satellite into outer space using a three-stage rocket.
: The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) releases a statement that confirms initial indications suggesting that North Korea’s rocket “deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit.”
: Kyodo reports that the Japanese Coast Guard rescued four men aboard a North Korean boat drifting in the Sea of Japan/East Sea.
: According to Chosun Ilbo, three Korean mobile service providers – SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus – have submitted an application to the Dokdo Management Office to set up a base station on the islets, paving the way for 4th generation mobile coverage on the island by February 2013. KT has already established Wi-Fi connection network on the islets.
: KCNA releases a statement from the Korean Committee of Space Technology, claiming that preparations for the scheduled rocket launch were “at a final phase,” but adding that “they, however, found technical deficiency in the first-stage control engine module of the rocket carrying the satellite and decided to extend the satellite launch period up to Dec. 29.”
: KCNA states that roundtable talks were held in Tokyo on Nov. 27 to mark the 40th anniversary of the realization of the North Korea-Japan sport exchange.
: The Japan Times reports that three MSDF destroyers armed with Aegis missile defense system left the base in Sasebo on Dec. 6 in preparation for North Korea’s rocket launch.
: Japan announces that it “has informed North Korea of a postponement of bilateral talks planned for later this week out of consideration for current circumstances.”
: North Korea announces plans to launch a satellite between Dec. 10 and 22.
: Washington Post reports on recent findings of the Japanese government survey on Japanese public sentiment toward South Korea and China. The article suggests that the significant decline in affinity for both Seoul and Beijing by the Japanese may represent a shift back toward nationalism of an earlier era.
: A boat carrying five dead men, all believed to be from North Korea, is found beached on Niigata Prefecture’s Sado Island.
: Finance ministers from South Korea and Japan meet to discuss economic and financial ties, releasing a joint statement that notes the importance of resuming negotiations on the free trade agreement.
: Seoul and Tokyo hold their 11th high-level economic consultation in Seoul, headed by Korea’s Deputy Trade Minister Lee Shi-hyung and Japan’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tsuruoka Koji.
: According to Kyodo, the Japanese government decided to create Japanese names for the rock formations on Takeshima and register them with the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan.
: Dong-A Ilbo details the campaign pledges of Abe Shinzo, pointing out his pledge to elevate the significance of ‘Takeshima Day’ designated for Feb. 22.
: According to Japan Times, Shimane Prefecture has called on the public to provide historical documents that would reinforce Japan’s claims to Takeshima.
: Trade ministers from South Korea, China, and Japan meet in Cambodia and announce the launch of free trade negotiations, ten years after the joint civic study in 2003.
: Director General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Sugiyama meets Song Il Ho, North Korean ambassador for talks to normalize relations with Japan.
: In an interview with Korea’s JoongAng Daily, Shin Bong-kil, secretary general of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS), states that “Korea, China, and Japan are in basic agreement that bilateral conflicts over historical and territorial issues should not affect trilateral cooperation in Northeast Asia.”
: Asahi Shimbun covers the visit of 40 or so members of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Staff College to South Korea. The article quotes the director of the MSDF Staff College’s education department, stating, “We want to promote exchanges at all levels even though political relations are bedeviled by some issues.”
: Kyodo announces that 33 of Japan’s 47 local assemblies have voted in favor of Tokyo pressing its claims to the disputed territory of Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Japan’s new Ambassador to Korea Bessho Koro arrives in Seoul.
: South Korea’s lawmakers from the National Defense Committee visit Dokdo, marking the third such visit since 2005.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura Osamu calls on Korea’s parliamentary leaders to cancel their scheduled trip to Takeshima.
: President of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Abe Shinzo visits Yasukuni Shrine, his first such visit since winning the party election in September.
: South Korea’s chief negotiator to the Six-Party Talks Lim Sung-nam, Director General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Sugiyama Shinsuke and US Special Envoy for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies meet in Tokyo for talks on North Korea.
: A Financial Times article, “Tokyo and Seoul: Relationship on the Rocks,” cites US Asia experts on the negative impact of Korea-Japan relations for the US ‘pivot’ strategy.
: The Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) involving South Korea, China, and Japan holds its inaugural forum in Seoul, bringing together South Korea’s Kim Sung-hwan, Vice President of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs Lu Shumin, and former Japanese Science and Technology Minister Nakagawa Masaharu.
: Chosun Ilbo hints at a potential thaw in bilateral relations, citing news of resuming regular meetings between finance ministers that had been suspended due to the dispute over Dokdo/Takeshima. The fifth such meeting was scheduled for August but postponed indefinitely following President Lee’s visit to the disputed islands.
: Korea Herald states that a Tokyo District Court ordered the Japanese government to disclose parts of the classified 1965 Korea-Japan normalization treaty dealing with Japan’s wartime sexual slavery, ruling in favor of the 11 Korean and Japanese civic activists representing the so-called “comfort women.” Japan has refused to disclose the proceedings of the treaty claiming that such disclosure may hinder relations between South and North Korea.
: Finance Minister Pak Chae-wan meets Japanese counterpart Jojima Koriki on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meeting in Tokyo.
: Yonhap announces that South Korea and Japan agreed to let the expanded portion of the bilateral currency swap deal expire at the end of the month. The expiration will mean that the bilateral currency swap deal will decrease to $13 billion from $70 billion.
: Seoul announces that it has received approval from the US to develop ballistic missiles with a range of up to 800 km, more than double the prior limit.
: The annual South Korean-Japan Cooperation Committee Meeting is held in Seoul. In a speech read by FM Kim Sung-hwan, President Lee calls for “a mature partnership between the two countries by having the courage and wisdom to look squarely at history and sincere action backing it up.” In a speech read by former Prime Minister Aso Taro, Prime Minister Noda urges “a cool-headed approach.”
: Chosun Ilbo publishes the findings of its joint survey with Mainichi Shimbun on Korean and Japanese public perceptions toward the bilateral relationship.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Matsubara Jin (who lost his job in an Oct. 1 cabinet reshuffle) attempted to open his own lines of communication with North Korea, in order to influence bilateral relations. An anonymous Japanese government official is quoted saying that “fame-hungry politicians have poked their noses into Japan-North Korea relations, while the Foreign Ministry has become wary of holding dialogues on the abduction issue.”
: Sankei Shimbun reports that South Korea refused to allow Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force ships to dock in Busan during a joint naval exercise involving the US and Australia. South Korea’s Defense Ministry denies the reports, claiming that the decision not to dock at the port was based on prior mutual agreement.
Sept. 28, 2012: Yonhap News reports that Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing will begin their domestic procedures starting October toward the launch of the trilateral free trade talks.
Sept. 28, 2012: FM Kim Sung-hwan addresses the 67th session of the UN General Assembly and includes references to wartime sexual violence as an infringement of human rights and the need to face up to history.
Sept. 28, 2012: Yonhap News reports that Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing will begin their domestic procedures starting October toward the launch of the trilateral free trade talks.
Sept. 28, 2012: FM Kim Sung-hwan addresses the 67th session of the UN General Assembly and includes references to wartime sexual violence as an infringement of human rights and the need to face up to history.
: The Japan Times states that FM Gemba has called for the greater use of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the peaceful resolution of international conflicts – an apparent reference to the territorial dispute with South Korea over Dokdo/Takeshima.
: FM Kim Sung-hwan meets FM Gemba on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, reaffirming efforts to work together on pressing bilateral issues including North Korea.
: The Wall Street Journal carries an interview with Japanese Prime Minister Noda where he reiterates Japan’s official position regarding compensation to those Korean victims of sexual slavery (referred to as “comfort women”), saying “the matter is closed.”
: South Korea’s Shin Dong-A Magazine in its October edition publishes the findings of a poll regarding perceptions toward the South Korea-Japan bilateral relationship.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports President Lee Myung-bak and Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko engaged in a brief discussion at the APEC meeting. This marks the first contact between the two since Lee’s visit to Dokdo in August.
: Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) survey reported by Yonhap reveals that more than one in 10 South Korean companies engaged in trade with Japanese companies believe they are suffering damage due to the South Korea-Japan diplomatic spat.
: According to Yonhap, Seoul is seeking an increased budget for 2013 in dealing with its claims to sovereignty over the disputed territory of Dokdo/Takeshima. The amount requested totals 4.2 billion won (roughly $3.7 million), representing an increase of 81 percent over the 2012 budget. The article also states that Japan has similarly increased its requested budget for the same purpose, to $7.5 million for 2013.
: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the APEC meeting, urging for cooler heads from both South Korea and Japan in working out their ongoing territorial dispute.
: Japanese Foreign Minister (FM) Gemba Koichiro meets South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-hwan at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Vladivostok.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that the four-member Japanese delegation to North Korea has wrapped up its 10-day trip to the country. The group visited four burial sites in preparation for possible retrieval of remains to Japan and future visits to such sites by the bereaved families and relatives.
: Chosun Ilbo quotes a South Korean diplomatic source in claiming that Japan informed the US it was against an increase in the range and payload of South Korean missiles.
: Asahi Shimbun quotes a Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) source that claims Seoul sent notice that its officers would not be taking part in military exchange programs. Plans to invite officers from the South Korean Air Force’s Southern Combat Command to Japan to meet their Japanese counterparts Sept. 3-6 are canceled.
: Pyongyang and Tokyo meet at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, marking the first bilateral meeting since August 2008.
: Japan’s Parliament adopts resolutions “strongly condemning” South Korea’s recent actions regarding the disputed territory of Dokdo/Takeshima and calling the successful landing by Chinese activists on Diaoyu/Senkaku “extremely regrettable.”
: Yonhap reports that the ROK military is looking to go ahead with its schedule to conduct regular military drills in waters near Dokdo/Takeshima in early September.
: Tokyo sends Seoul a “note verbale” about jointly referring the territorial dispute over Dokdo/Takeshima to the ICJ. South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan dismisses the proposal, claiming that it is “not worth consideration.” Seoul returns the note on Aug. 23.
: South Korean Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Unification adopts resolution pressing Japan to withdraw its territorial claims over Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Japanese Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko sends a letter to President Lee via the embassy in Seoul, describing Lee’s visit to Dokdo/Takeshima and the remarks about needing an apology from Japan’s Emperor if he were to visit the South as regrettable. Noda also urges the territorial dispute be resolved at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
: KCNA criticizes Japan for its plans to raise the “abduction issue” at the bilateral meeting scheduled for the end of the month.
: Two Japanese Cabinet ministers – National Public Safety Commission Chairman Matsubara Jin and Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Hata Yuichiro – visit the Yasukuni Shrine on the 67th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
: President Lee urges Japanese Emperor Akihito to apologize to Koreans that lost their life fighting for independence from the Japanese during the colonial era, if the Emperor is to visit South Korea.
: President Lee Myung-bak visits the disputed territory of Dokdo/Takeshima, sparking Japan to recall its ambassador from Seoul. This marks the first time that a Korean president has visited the islands.
: Japanese Red Cross Society meets North Korean Red Cross in Beijing to discuss repatriation of the remains of those Japanese that died during and at around the time of World War II, as well as allowing visits to their grave sites by bereaved family members. This is the first such meeting since August 2002.
: Japanese Cabinet endorses its 2012 defense white paper. Seoul immediately calls in Kurai Takashi, Japan’s deputy chief of mission in Seoul to protest Tokyo’s reiteration of its claims to Dokdo/Takeshima.
: KCNA criticizes Matsubara Jin, a Japanese state minister in charge of the “abduction issue,” accusing him of manipulating past abductions of Japanese nationals by the North to “win popularity,” branding such actions as a “politically motivated fraud.”
: US State Department official tells Yonhap that Japan’s trafficking of Korean women for sex during World War II is an unassailable “fact.” The official was responding to South Korean reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the use of “enforced sex slaves” and not just “comfort women.”
: A US-based civic group, Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE), holds a ceremony at the Capitol in Washington DC, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the landmark resolution on “comfort women.” The resolution was first introduced by Representative Mike Honda (D-CA), and co-sponsored by 167 lawmakers.
: South Korea’s Seoul National University Hospital signs a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s Nagoya University Hospital to strengthen cooperation and develop joint programs.
: Korean Foreign Ministry official tells Yonhap that Seoul is considering changing the English term, “so-called comfort women” in international documents to “sex slave.”
: According to an article in The Korea Times, the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP) is politicizing the failed attempt to forge a Korea-Japan defense pact, calling for the dismissal of Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik for mishandling the controversial accord.
: The US, South Korea, and Japan agree to continue close consultations in dealing with common security threats including deterring provocations by North Korea. The decision was made on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
: The Association of Forcibly Conscripted Korean Women (AFCKW), a Gwangju-based civic group announces that its 16th round of negotiations with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) to compensate Koreans exploited as forced laborers during Japanese colonial rule has ended without success.
: Kim Tae-hyo, South Korean senior presidential secretary for national security strategy, resigns over the controversy surrounding the government’s attempt to push the military pact with Tokyo.
: Yonhap reports that due to the general public backlash against the GSOMIA, the Korean government is moving toward scrapping negotiations regarding the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) that had been put on hold.
: An acerbic editorial in the The Hankyoreh claims that the postponing of the bilateral military pact has proven that the Lee administration is “brainless” … “with poor judgment and weak ability to predict circumstances.”
: According to a public opinion poll conducted by Korea’s Naeil Shinmun regarding the latest “fiasco” regarding the bilateral military pact with Japan, 63.3 percent of the Korean population did not foresee the pact being forged without prior resolution of historical issues such as the territorial spat over Dokdo/Takeshima and the issue of the “comfort women.”
: North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun accuses the Lee administration of being “a clan of traitors” aiming to “realize the wild ambition to invade the North, backed by Japan,” for its attempt to push forward with the military accord with Japan.
: Hankook Ilbo reports that Korean beer exports to Japan have increased almost 40-fold within the past three years, while Korean beer imports from Japan have increased over two-fold within the same period.
: US State Department spokesperson tells Yonhap that if signed, the military accord between South Korea and Japan will be “useful, but it [the US] maintains a largely cautious stance on the sensitive bilateral issue.”
: The signing of the GSOMIA falls through as the Korean media reports on the backlash regarding the surreptitious manner in which the pact was rushed through within the Korean Cabinet. The Korean ruling Saenuri Party requests the government to postpone the signing less than an hour before the scheduled ceremony.
: According to the Chosun Ilbo, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin during the “2+2” meeting in mid-June to rush the South Korea-Japan military accord, but that Seoul denies the US made the demand.
: Speaking at a press conference a day after the announcement by Seoul of the bilateral military pact, Foreign Minister Gemba confirms that Seoul and Tokyo are “making coordination towards early signing [of the pact].”
: Mainichi reports that a Japanese official in charge of collecting information on terrorism and nuclear proliferation apparently committed suicide following media reports of an intelligence leak regarding North Korean acquisition of missile launchers from China.
: The South Korean government announces that it will sign a military pact with Japan. The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) provides the legal framework for the two countries to exchange and protect classified information.
: US, South Korea, and Japan conduct a joint naval exercise in waters south of the Korean Peninsula.
: Mainichi reports that journalists of Kyodo News and two Japanese broadcasters visited two burial sites near Pyongyang, which allegedly contain the remains of Japanese soldiers, military officials, and civilians from World War II.
: Fielding questions concerning reports that North Korea’s ballistic missile launch vehicles were imported from China, Japanese Foreign Minister Gemba Koichiro states that “this is pertaining to intelligence” and that it is inappropriate for him to make any comments.
: At the 2nd US-ROK Foreign and Defense Ministers’ (2+2) Meeting held in Washington, the ministers affirm the importance of trilateral security collaboration with Japan, and commit to expand the scope of that cooperation to include humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security, freedom of navigation, and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
: Yomiuri Shimbun quotes Korean President Lee Mung-bak’s remarks urging Japan to slash its trade surplus with South Korea before resuming negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement.
: Yonhap covers the meeting between Korea’s Ruling Saenuri (New Frontier) Party Chairman Hwang Yoo-yea and Japanese Ambassador Muto Masatoshi. The main focus of the talks was economic relations including the bilateral free trade agreement.
: US, South Korea, and Japan agree to strengthen cooperation in deterring North Korean aggression at a meeting of senior defense ministers at the 11th Asia Security Summit Shangri-La Dialogue held in Singapore.
: Quoting Japan’s Defense Ministry, Asahi Shimbun claims that Japan is considering deploying Aegis destroyers near the West Sea to deal with the long-range missile threat from North Korea.
: JoongAng Daily reports growing pressure on South Korea’s major companies to contribute funds to the foundation established to support conscripts. This follows POSCO’s decision to donate 10 billion won by 2014 to the state program to support Koreans who were conscripted to work in Japanese enterprises during World War II.
: According to JoongAng Daily, Tokyo announced that the issue of conscripted laborers and compensation has been resolved. Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura states that the issue was completely resolved in the 1965 agreement between Korea and Japan.
: South Korean Supreme Court rules in favor of formerly conscripted Korean workers seeking reparations for forced work without pay for Japanese companies during World War II. The decision directly contradicts the stance of the Japanese Supreme Court.
: A bureau chief-level meeting is held in Seoul to discuss plans by the US, South Korea, and Japan to press a reluctant China to “turn up the heat” on an increasingly provocative North Korea, Asahi Shimbun reports. The meeting was attended by Sugiyama Shinsuke, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Glyn Davies, the US special envoy for North Korean policy, and, Lim Sung-nam, Seoul’s chief nuclear envoy.
: According to Yonhap, South Korea is working on a plan to forge a military cooperation pact with China. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson Kim Min-seok stresses the need for a mutual logistical support treaty given the history of joint maritime exercises for humanitarian search-and-rescue operations.
: Japan successfully launches its first foreign-made commercial satellite, marking its entry into the launch business. The South Korean satellite, the KOMPSAT-3, is a multipurpose observation satellite developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
: South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin cancels trip to Japan two days after Tokyo is notified that a visit by Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of the Communist Party Central Military Commission, would also be postponed.
: The 44th annual gathering of Korea-Japan business leaders kicks off in Osaka. The meeting is attended by Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura Osamu, Korea International Trade Association (KITA) chairman Han Duck-soo, and Mitsubishi Corporation chairman Sasaki Mikio.
: The Fifth China, South Korea, and Japan trilateral summit is held in Beijing. The Joint Declaration on the Enhancement of Trilateral Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership focuses on launching negotiations on a three-way free trade pact.
: The Sankei reports that the Japanese Embassy in Seoul lodged a protest with the Korean Foreign Ministry in response to the Korean government providing 500 million won toward building the museum dedicated to the “comfort women.”
: The Hankyoreh announces the opening of “The War and Women’s Human Rights Museum” in Seoul, with funds raised by the Korean Council for Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, which launched a committee for the museum’s construction in 2004. Some 200,000 people contributed to the fund, raising roughly two billion won ($1.8 million).
: Asahi Shimbun reports that China, South Korea, Japan and 10 Southeast Asian countries have agreed to enlarge and strengthen their emergency liquidity program amidst growing volatility from high oil prices and the eurozone crisis.
: The general assembly of the IHO takes place in Monaco.
: The petition site operated by the US White House shuts down due to a flurry of activity regarding a petition to change the naming of the Sea of Japan to the East Sea.
: A South Korean civic group holds a rally in downtown Paris to urge the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to formally adopt the ‘East Sea’ name to the currently labeled ‘Sea of Japan,’ ahead of the IHO general assembly meeting in Monaco.
: ROK National Tax Service (NTS) Commissioner Lee Hyun-dong meets Japanese counterpart Kawakita Chikara to address the issue of offshore tax evasion.
: North Korea attempts to launch a satellite; the rocket carrying the satellite breaks apart within moments of launch.
: Roughly 800 Japanese gather at the constitutional government memorial near the National Diet Building to protest the issue of sovereignty over Dokdo/Takeshima. JoongAng Daily reports that more than 60 Japanese lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties supported the rally and 49 personally attended.
: The ROK-China-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting takes place in Ningbo, China. Bilateral meetings preceded the three-way talks the day before.
: Japan releases its 2012 Diplomatic Bluebook, which garners severe protests from its Korean neighbor for reaffirming its territorial claims over the disputed islands.
: The Japan Times announces that Japan has completed its deployment of its ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors ahead of North Korea’s planned rocket launch.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura Osamu tells reporters that Japan will extend its sanctions against North Korea by a year.
: Kyodo announces new plans by Korea, Japan, and China along with the 10 Southeast Asian countries to double their reserve pool to $240 billion to better deal with the potential spillovers from the crisis in Europe.
: A Korea-Japan symposium supported by the ROK Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs takes place on Jeju Island, aimed at protecting sea turtles.
: The Japanese government approves three new high school textbooks claiming Takeshima as Japanese territory, inciting protests from the Korean government.
: The top nuclear envoys from South Korea and Japan hold talks in Seoul to discuss the steps following North Korea’s announcement of a planned rocket launch.
: Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) announces its decision to launch a multi-year development program with the Japan International Cooperation Agency on disaster management.
: According to a Daily Yomiuri report, the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement will likely hurt Japanese automakers and electronic firms in the North American market.
: North Korea announces its planned satellite launch to mark the centennial of state founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday.
: Sankei Shimbun reports on an unofficial meeting between Tokyo and Pyongyang to discuss repatriation of Japanese women who moved to North Korea with their Korean husbands.
: Daily Yomiuri quotes Gov. Mizoguchi Zembee as calling on the central government to build a Self-Defense Forces camp on part of the Okinoshima islets, which are located between Honshu and the disputed islets of Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Asahi Shimbun publishes an op-ed by President Lee Myung-bak entitled “3/11 and Korea-Japan Relations: An Affirmation of Friendship.”
: ROK Vice Foreign Minister Ahn Ho-young meets Japanese counterpart Sasae Kenichiro and calls on Japan to “take fundamental measures that are acceptable to the victims [of sex slavery] as the issue is one of the most important pending issues between the two nations.”
: The seventh Korea-Japan-China Senior Foreign Affairs Officials’ Consultation and the first Asian Policy Dialogue are held in Beijing.
: In a speech during a ceremony to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the March 1 uprising against Japanese colonial rule of Korea, President Lee Myung-bak urges Japan to “urgently resolve” the compensation issue for South Korean “comfort women.”
: Chosun Ilbo covers the latest moves by Shimane prefecture officials and their request to elevate “Takeshima Day” into a national holiday.
: Japan’s Shimane prefecture hosts a rally condemning Korea’s “illegal occupation” of Takeshima. The Shimane Prefectural Government has been hosting an exhibition of various records buttressing Japan’s claim to the disputed territory since January.
: Kyodo News reports that 11 Japanese lawmakers attended the annual “Takeshima Day” ceremony in Matsue, Shimane prefecture to promote Japan’s territorial claims to Takeshima.
: In a press conference, Korean Ambassador to Japan Shin Gak-su states that the request made by Japanese Prime Minister Noda Yoshihoko in December to get rid of the “peace monument” near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul was inappropriate.
: The Korea Times reports that South Korea is quickly solidifying its hold on Dokdo, with 28 different projects either underway or completed on the rocky islets.
: The Japan Foundation funds a symposium on “The Post-Disaster Paradigm Shift and ROK-Japan Relations” in Seoul.
: South Korea and Japan resume their exchange program for junior diplomats.
: Jakarta Post reports that the Japanese and South Korean ambassadors along with the Taiwanese representative have filed complaints to the Indonesian government over its handling of the recent labor unrest, claiming damages to their businesses in Indonesia.
: Hankuk Ilbo reports that the Japanese right-wing group Zaitokukai (the “Citizens against Special Privilege of Zainichi”) has applied for a permit to erect a monument in front of the site of the new Korean Embassy, claiming Japan as the sole owner of Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Mainichi Daily News details the speech by Japanese Foreign Minister Gemba Koichiro, asserting Japan as the legitimate owner of Takeshima. South Korea government immediately protests and lodges a formal complaint with the Japanese ambassador.
: “Comfort women” receive media attention as the survivors of those forced into prostitution by the Japanese Imperial Army meet ROK Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan.
: The first three-way talks among senior officials from South Korea, Japan, and the US since the death of Kim Jong Il take place in Washington.
: South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam and Japanese counterpart Sugiyama Shinsuke meet in Seoul to discuss issues regarding North Korea.
: In an interview with Yonhap News, ROK Ambassador Shin Kak-soo states that Seoul and Tokyo must work toward finding a solution to the issue of compensation for Korean women forced into prostitution for the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that a Chinese man was arrested for a firebomb attack at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. The man reportedly said his grandmother was the victim of sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
: Mainichi Daily News reports that Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and Japanese counterpart Gemba Koichiro agree in a telephone call that it is vital for Tokyo, Seoul, and Washington to make a coordinated response to North Korean affairs.
: President Lee and Prime Minister Noda meet in Kyoto.
Dec. 19, 2011: The Dec. 17 death of Kim Jong Il is reported by KCNA. Immediately thereafter, Lee and Noda confirm over the phone that they will work together in responding to the death.
Dec. 19, 2011: The Dec. 17 death of Kim Jong Il is reported by KCNA. Immediately thereafter, Lee and Noda confirm over the phone that they will work together in responding to the death.
: Japan Times reports a “Peace Monument” was unveiled near the Japan Embassy in Seoul on the occasion of the 1,000th weekly demonstration by those calling for an apology and compensation from the Japanese government for comfort women/sex slaves.
: Asahi Shimbun reports the successful return of ancient royal books to South Korea. The 1,200 pieces, includes the “Joseon Wangsil Uigwe,” or the Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty.
: Nuclear safety authorities of Korea, Japan, and China meet to improve information sharing on accidents and other safety matters involving nuclear power plants.
: Seoul and Tokyo hold their first working-level meeting to strengthen cooperation in the procurement of liquefied natural gas and other gas-related issues. Mainichi Daily News reports that future discussions are expected to involve issues such as joint participation in the development of gas fields in Russia, and cooperation on shale gas in North America.
: The 35th Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union meets in Seoul. In a joint statement, the lawmakers call on their respective governments to step up efforts to sign a free trade and economic partnership agreement.
: Chosun Ilbo announces plans by Seoul to erect a new sea wall and tourist facilities in the waters off Dokdo/Takeshima as early as 2016.
: The Rodong Sinmun carries an article citing the follies of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and the need for Tokyo to repent and pay compensation for its colonial rule or become “a sworn enemy of the Korean people.”
: AFP reports that Beijing aspires to open full negotiations on a free trade agreement with Japan and South Korea in 2012.
: South Korea, Japan, and the US hold trilateral talks on the resumption of the stalled Six-Party Talks, at the venue of the East Asia Summit in Bali.
: Korea Times reports that the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) will demand North Korea pay $1.89 billion in compensation for losses incurred by the failed light-water reactor project.
: Mainichi Daily News reports that the Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Muto has lodged a protest with First Vice Foreign Minister Park Suk Hwan, over a visit by South Korean lawmakers to Dokdo/Takeshima for a concert, describing it as “utterly unacceptable.”
: The South Korean Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) hold the seventh joint search and rescue exercise (SAREX) near Busan.
: The vice defense ministers of South Korea and Japan, Lee Yong Gul and Nakae Kimito, hold talks in Seoul to discuss bilateral defense exchanges.
: AFP announces that Seoul and Tokyo have agreed to expand their currency swap arrangement to the equivalent of $70 billion in the face of global uncertainty as well as to revive efforts at reaching a free trade pact.
: President Lee and Prime Minister Noda meet at the Blue House to discuss bilateral relations and regional security.
: Japanese Foreign Minister Gemba Koichiro visits Seoul and meets Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan. They discuss North Korea’s nuclear issue and bilateral relations.
: Yonhap News reports that North Korea has demanded $5.7 billion in compensation for a failed light-water reactor project initiated by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO).
: Yonhap cites Sugiyama Shinsuke, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, as stating that the issue of the compensation for Korean comfort women/sex slaves has already been fully resolved.
: President Lee calls on Japan to expand cultural exchange as a way to forge a forward-looking partnership between the two neighbors. Lee’s message was read out loud by South Korea’s cultural minister at the joint South Korea-Japan cultural festival held in Tokyo.
: Korea Times reports that the South Korean Foreign Ministry has set up a task force to specifically deal with the issue of compensation for Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japan’s World War II soldiers.
: Tokyo asks Seoul to block plans by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan to erect a “Peace Monument” near the Japanese Embassy.
: Korea, Japan, and China open a secretariat for trilateral cooperation in Seoul.
: Maeil Kyungjae reports the results of 2010 Northeast Asian History Foundation survey of perceptions of history which shows 46.8 percent of Koreans felt that bilateral relations were positive, while 71.4 percent of the Japanese thought relations were positive. The proportion of those in their 20s citing the relations as negative in Korea and Japan, respectively, was 61.5 percent and 37.3 percent.
: President Lee and Prime Minister Noda meet for the first time since Noda’s inauguration while attending the UN General Assembly in New York.
: South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Byung-jae announces that South Korea has proposed talks with Japan over compensation for comfort women/sex slaves.
: According to Japan Today, Japanese authorities have questioned nine suspected North Korean defectors (three men, three women, and three boys) found off the western coast of Japan near Kanazawa. On Oct. 4, the group is taken from an immigration facility in Nagasaki and flown to South Korea.
: Kyodo News reports that Seoul is considering proposing official talks with Tokyo regarding the compensation of the comfort women/sex slaves.
: According to DongA Ilbo, President Lee Myung-bak stresses in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Noda the value of “future-oriented” bilateral relations and the need to “not forget the past, but not let that past hold up the future.”
: South Korea’s Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Choung Byoung-gug and Kondo Seiichi, commissioner of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on bilateral cooperation to protect copyrights and related rights of their cultural products.
: Noda Yoshihiko is formally appointed prime minister following his election by the Diet on Aug. 30.
: Yonhap reports that the South Korean Foreign Ministry has called in Kanehara Nobukatsu – Japan’s deputy chief of mission in Seoul – to convey the message that Japan must take “sincere and active” measures to deal with the compensation issue for those Korean victims of sexual servitude during the colonial period of 1910-45.
: The Japanese Parliament elects Noda Yoshihiko new head of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), as prime minister, sparking concern from South Korea over his views regarding Japense Class A war criminals.
: The sixth joint study meeting on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among South Korea, Japan and China is held in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchung.
: A second anti-Hallyu (‘Korean Wave’) demonstration is held in front of Fuji TV headquarters in Tokyo. The Hankyoreh reports participation by roughly 6,000 people.
: Yonhap News reports that South Korea has conducted two military drills aimed at protecting the islets of Dokdo/Takeshima in 2011.
: The meeting of the National Assembly’s Special Committee on Measures for the Safeguarding of Territory scheduled to be held on Dokdo is postponed due to inclement weather.
: South Korea protests the decision by the US maritime boundary agency to notify the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to only back usage of “Sea of Japan,” which South Korea calls the “East Sea.”
: Chosun Ilbo reports that roughly 500 demonstrators gathered around Fuji TV headquarters in Tokyo, to protest broadcasts of Korean TV dramas.
: An editorial in Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) lambastes Japan for its efforts to claim Dokdo/Takeshima as part of its own territory.
: According to the Chosun Ilbo, Japanese LDP members, Hirasawa Katsuei and Shimomura Hakubun, pledged to visit Ulleungdo in September after the closing of the regular session of the Diet.
: The Mainichi Shimbun reports that the South Korean Foreign Ministry has summoned Kanehara Nobukatsu, a diplomatic minister at the Japanese embassy, to protest Japan’s claim to Dokdo/Takeshima in its newly-released 2011 Defense White Paper.
: Three lawmakers from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are denied entry by South Korean immigration officials at Gimpo International Airport. Japanese Foreign Minister Matsumoto Takeaki summons South Korean Ambassador to Japan Shin Kak-Soo to lodge a protest.
: A right-wing professor of Takushoku University is denied entry by South Korean immigration officials at Incheon International Airport, due to the local justice ministry’s disapproval of his visit.
: Yonhap News announces ROK Foreign Minister Kim-Sung-hwan met Japanese counterpart Matsumoto Takeaki on the sidelines of ASEAN-related meetings in Indonesia and expressed “strong” regret over Japan’s punitive actions taken against Korean Air in mid-July.
: The League of Korea-Japan Female Lawmakers meets in Seoul, Korea. The league is chaired by Na Kyung-won, a former Grand National Party (GNP) spokeswoman. This marks the second such gathering since its inaugural meeting in 2010.
: Kyodo News reports that Japan, at the 18th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Indonesia, refutes North Korea’s claim that the Japanese abduction issue has been settled.
: Hyundai Steel, South Korea’s second-biggest steelmaker, announces that it expects to secure orders from three to four Japanese shipbuilders in the second half of 2011.
: Jin Air, a low-cost Korean airline, celebrates the inauguration of its first route into Japan, connecting Incheon and Sapporo.
: Kyodo News reports that the Tokyo District Court has rejected a suit filed by South Korean plaintiffs in which they called for the removal of the names of their deceased relatives from the list of those enshrined at the Yasukuni Shrine.
: DongA Ilbo reports that the state-run Japanese Science and Technology Agency has agreed to sell Samsung Electronics its patented technology of a new semiconductor, paving the way for Samsung to create large displays with resolutions up to 10 times greater than existing products.
: Several South Korean groups protest in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, demanding the immediate cancellation of the intended visit to Ulleungdo by Japanese lawmakers and vowing to continue daily demonstrations until Aug. 2. Meanwhile, the South Korean government announces its plans to use Dokdo to hold a general meeting of the National Assembly’s Special Committee on Measures for the Safeguarding of Territory.
: According to Asahi Shimbun, the Japanese government has instructed its officials to boycott Korean Air for a month in response to the carrier’s inauguration of its newly purchased A380 jumbo jet with a flight over Dokdo/Takeshima.
: Kyodo News cites a new agreement forged between Japan’s Toshiba Corporation and South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc. to jointly develop a new type of memory chip known as MRAM.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc., and Japan’s Hitachi Plant Technologies Ltd., have agreed to establish a joint venture in the water business.
: According to the Mainichi Shimbun, Japan is willing to allow Chang Ung, a North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), entry into Tokyo for an Olympic Council of Asia meeting. This marks an exception to Tokyo’s ban on entry by North Korean nationals since October 2006, in protest of Pyongyang’s nuclear test.
: Son Hak-gyu, leader of the South Korean Democratic Party, meets Japanese Prime Minister Kan Naoto at his official residence in Tokyo.
: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) lambastes Japan for participating in the Korean War by helping the US with supplies and forces to keep the war going, demanding an apology for the “sin” committed.
: Yonhap News reports that the ROK-Japan bilateral agreement for the return of ancient Korean texts from Japan has come into force, roughly seven months after the initial signing of the accord.
: JoongAng Daily reports on the first Korea-China-Japan Economic and Trade Forum, held in Seoul. The forum included Oh Young-ho, vice chairman of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), Bi Jiyao, director of the Foreign Economic Institute (Academy of Macroeconomics) from China, and Shinji Fukukawa, president of the Japan China Organization for Business, Academia & Government Partnership from Japan.
: Yonhap News cites a May 19 article by The Nikkei concerning an agreement to establish a joint South Korea-Japan investment fund for financing Asian television programming (to be launched in June) dubbed the “Asia Content Fund.”
: According to DongA Ilbo, the Upper House in the Japanese Diet has ratified an agreement on the return of ancient Korean texts to Seoul with a vote of 145-86. This comes a month after the Lower House passed the bill.
: Asahi Shimbun announces that the Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Muto Masatoshi lodged a protest with Park Suk-hwa, first vice minister of South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade, over the visit by three South Korean lawmakers to the disputed Kuril Islands, which occurred with the permission of the Russian government.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Japanese Foreign Minister Matsumoto Takeaki lodged a formal protest against the May 25 visit of South Korea’s Minister of Gender Equality and Family Paik Hee-young to the disputed islands of Dokdo/Takeshima.
: The fourth Trilateral Japan-China-South Korea Summit is held in Tokyo. Issues addressed in the declaration include multilateral cooperation on disaster management and nuclear safety, economic growth, and environmentally sustainable development.
: Japan’s Ministry of Finance announces that Seoul and Tokyo have reached an agreement to mutually recognize the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) system. This means that the AEO status of economic operators will be taken into account during the security risk assessment procedure by Japanese and South Korean customs authorities. For Japan, South Korea marks the fifth such partner, following New Zealand, US, European Union, and Canada.
: The Daily NK reports the announcement by the Japanese consulate in Shenyang that it will no longer protect North Korean defectors following a demand by China to stop.
: Seoul’s Six-Party Talks envoy Wi Sung-lac and Japanese counterpart Sugiyama Shinsuke meet and agree to a “three-step process” in resuming the Six-Party Talks, recognizing the need for preliminary talks between Seoul and Pyongyang.
: South Korea and Japan hold director general-level talks on a free trade agreement in Seoul, the second of the kind since the first round of talks in Tokyo on Sept. 16, 2010.
: Yonhap confirms that North Korea will take legal action against two Japanese citizens detained since March 14 on charges of drug trafficking and counterfeit activities. The men were initially arrested after entering Rason City in the North’s special economic zone.
: Japanese parliamentary panel endorses a treaty to transfer to South Korea historical documents that were brought to Japan during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, paving the way for its ratification by the Diet.
: Sankei Shimbun reports that a committee in Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has asked the Japanese government to establish a “Takeshima Day,” in an effort to assert the country’s claim to the territory.
: Yonhap News reports on a two-day meeting of Japanese and South Korean nuclear safety experts after South Korea expressed concerns over the release of more than 11,000 tons of water contaminated with radiation that was used to cool reactors at Fukushima.
: Japan’s Education Ministry approves several junior high school textbooks that describe Dokdo/Takeshima as part of Japanese territory.
: Japanese Foreign Minister Matsumoto Takeaki, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, and ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Kim Sung-hwan agree to enhance trilateral cooperation to better respond to major disasters and ensure the safety of atomic power.
: An earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale hits the Tohoku region of Japan causing a massive tsunami and resulting in large-scale death and destruction.
: Sugiyama Shinsuke, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau and Japan’s chief envoy for the Six-Party Talks, visits Seoul and meets Foreign Ministry officials including his Six-Party Talks counterpart, Wi Sung-lak.
: Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan visits Japan for the first time since his appointment in October of 2010. He meets Foreign Minister Maehara, Prime Minister Kan Naoto, and several others, including Sengoku Yoshito, acting president of the Democratic Party, and Tanigaki Sadakazu, president of the Liberal Democratic Party.
: Former Japanese Justice Minister Seikan Suguira and former Korean Justice Minister Kim Sung-ho visit the House of Sharing in Gwangju to pay respects to the comfort women who were forced into sexual slavery during the Japanese colonial rule.
: DongA Ilbo quotes Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sato Satoru as claiming that South Korea or China must gain prior authorization from Japan to participate in development projects with Russia in the Kuril Islands.
: The Korean mobile network operator SK Telecom and its Japanese near-field communication (NFC) partners KDDI and Softbank Mobile announce a plan to begin internal testing of cross-border NFC services.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japanese chipmaker Elpida Memory Inc. has reached an agreement on production with a Taiwan manufacturer, thus, representing a “major step toward a Japan-Taiwan alliance to vie with the South Korean giants who dominate the field.”
: LG CNS announces the establishment of a joint venture with SBI Group of Japan.
: Japan Today highlights the biography of the new South Korean consul general-elect in Hiroshima: a son of a man who experienced the 1945 atomic bombing of the city and also took charge in requesting compensation for the South Korean victims.
: Third Japan-China-Korea Ministerial Conference on Culture is held in Nara, Japan. Japan’s Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kondo Seiichi, China’s Minister of Culture Cai Wu, and South Korea’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yu In-chon participate.
: The captain of a South Korean fishing boat is released by Japan’s Coast Guard. According to Yonhap News, the captain was released after he admitted to trespassing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. According to Coast Guard officials, he was released after the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo submitted a written guarantee to pay a cash bond of 250,000 yen.
: Foreign Minister Maehara visits Seoul and meets Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek, and President Lee Myung-bak.
: Japanese Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi and South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin meet to discuss closer bilateral military cooperation. Civic groups protest at the ROK Defense Ministry in Seoul against the prospective bilateral military pact.
: Japan’s Minister of the State for National Policy Gemba Koichiro meets South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan to renew talks on a free trade agreement (FTA).
: Chosun Ilbo refutes a Yomiuri Shimbun article claiming that Korea and Japan are in negotiations to conclude a bilateral military pact. The Korean media outlet cites a Korean government official who claims that “the Japanese side is unilaterally spilling a story to the media that has not even been consulted with the Korean side.”
: In a press conference, Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji expresses his intent to create an environment to facilitate negotiations with North Korea in the New Year.
: Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji says that Japan should enhance bilateral discussions with North Korea on issues of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs and the abduction issue.
: The Sunrise Party of Japan decides not to join the ruling coalition.
: South Korean military conducts its largest air and ground firing drills of the year.
: Japan and South Korea reach an open skies agreement for civil aviation between Narita and Incheon airports to be effective summer 2013.
: South Korea and Japan sign a civilian nuclear pact that allows them to use and transfer nuclear-power technologies between the two countries.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku Yoshito clarifies Prime Minister Kan’s remarks saying that the Japanese government is not considering the possibility of dispatching the Self-Defense Forces to the Korean Peninsula.
: Japan’s Six-Party Talks Envoy Saiki Akitaka and Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei meet in Beijing and agree to make joint efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
: Prime Minster Kan during his meeting with the families of Japanese abductees by North Korea says that the government must consider a plan to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces to rescue the abductees in the event of a contingency on the Korean peninsula.
: US Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa meet in Tokyo and agree to enhance trilateral cooperation between Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul.
: South Korean and Japanese lawmakers meet in Seoul and exchanges views on reparations for South Korean forced laborers.
: Japan expresses reservation over a top US military officer’s suggestion of joining joint military drills of the US and South Korean militaries.
: The approval rating of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Kan drops to 25 percent while disapproval rating rose to 65 percent.
: Foreign Ministers of South Korea, the US, and Japan hold a trilateral meeting in Washington and denounce North Korea’s shelling of Yeongpyeong and urge China to put pressure on the North.
: Japan and US conduct joint military exercise Keen Sword in waters near Japan. The South Korean military sends observers for the first time.
: Japan tells China that now is not an appropriate time to resume the Six-Party Talks on the North’s denuclearization program.
: A poll released by Dentsu Inc. shows that an average of 42.2 percent of people polled in nine countries in Asia think that Japan’s influence in their countries has decreased.
: South Korea and the US hold joint military exercises that include a US nuclear-powered aircraft in the Yellow Sea.
: President Lee and Prime Minster Kan agree to work closely to confront provocations by North Korea.
: Pro-Seoul Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan) expresses anger over the North’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.
: North Korea fires some 170 artillery shells on a South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island killing two South Korean marines and two civilians.
: President Lee and Prime Minister Kan meet on the sidelines of APEC. South Korea and Japan sign a treaty that confirms the return of 1,205 Korean cultural treasures including royal scripts taken during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
: Japan hosts APEC Leaders Meeting.
: South Korea hosts G20 Summit.
: Prime Minister Kan, President Lee, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao meet on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Vietnam.
: A group of Japanese and South Korean scholars release a study commissioned by the two governments in which they conclude that Japan’s annexation of Korea was coerced in the face of opposition from Koreans.
: Japanese Prime Minister Kan Naoto and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEAM) and discuss bilateral relations.
: Families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea urge the Japanese government to take more proactive actions to make a breakthrough in the abduction issue.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji says that Japan is closing monitoring developments regarding North Korea’s leadership transition.
: North Korea holds a political conference and Kim Jong-un is appointed as vice chairman of the Central Military Committee of the Workers’ Party.
: Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing meet to discuss details of setting up a permanent secretariat for trilateral cooperation.
: Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara Seiji and acting South Korean Foreign Minister Shin Kak-Soo agree that North Korea has to show concrete action before the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
: The Bank of Japan sells yen as currency trading opens in Tokyo.
: Kan Naoto is reelected head of the Democratic Party of Japan.
: Japan’s Defense White Paper emphasizes the importance of US military deterrence and expresses concerns over China’s increasing military power.
: South Korea expresses “deep regret” over Japan’s Defense White Paper’s description of the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as part of Japanese territory.
: Japan’s Agriculture Ministry announces that Japan is lifting a ban on South Korean poultry imports.
: The 100th anniversary of Japan’s annexation of Korea.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya tells his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi that the Six-Party Talks cannot easily be resumed “considering the feelings of South Korean and the South Korean government’s position.”
: Japan sends the South Korean government the records of those who died during forced labor at Japanese companies and mines during its colonial rule of Korea.
: South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak proposes a unification tax during his speech commemorating the 65th anniversary of Liberation Day.
: North Korea’s ambassador for normalization talks with Japan, Song Il-ho, says that Prime Minister Kan’s apology statement was “disappointing.”
: A group of North Korean victims and the families of the deceased victims of Japan’s colonial rule send a letter to Japan to demand immediate apology and compensation.
: The Japanese government releases the property tax collection practices of facilities for pro-North Korea General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.
: North Korea criticizes Prime Minister Kan for apologizing only to South Korea and for failing to settle the past.
: The Korean reunification index of the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University shows that the feasibility of the integration of the two Koreas in the areas of politics, economics, society, and culture declined in 2009 for a second straight year.
: Prime Minister Kan apologizes to South Korea for Japan’s colonial rule of Korea. Japan acknowledges for the first time the forceful nature of the annexation in 1910.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku Yoshito says that Japan needs to remove impediments to future-oriented bilateral relations with Seoul from a humanitarian standpoint.
: Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on National Security and Defense Capabilities in the New Era completes its report.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Sengoku Yoshito says Kim Hyon-hui’s visit was “meaningful.”
: Nakai Hiroshi, Japan’s state minister in charge of abduction issues, says that abduction victim Taguchi Yaeko was alive and well in Pyongyang six years ago. Pyongyang previously claimed that she died in 1986 in a car accident.
: Kim Hyon-hui, the sole surviving bomber of the 1987 Korean Air passenger flight, makes a four-day visit to Japan to meet the families of those abducted by North Korea.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya “recognizes that Korean pride was deeply bruised when they lost their country” in his written interview with South Korean daily Dong-A Ilbo.
: Prime Minister Kan Naoto’s ruling coalition loses a majority in the Upper House of the Diet following elections.
: The G8 meeting agrees to endorse the results of the international investigation led by South Korea on the sinking of the Cheonan.
: President Lee and Prime Minister Kan meet for the first time on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Toronto.
: North Korea holds a news conference and warns of military response if the UN Security Council condemns its country over the sinking of the Cheonan.
: Prime Minster Kan says he will not visit Yasukuni Shrine as prime minister.
: A trader and his wife are arrested in Japan on suspicion of exporting cosmetics to North Korea against Japan’s ban of exporting luxury items to the North.
: South Korean financial authorities announce measures to curb capital volatility.
: Kan takes office as Japan’s prime minister.
: According to Arirang News, Korean Studies is gaining popularity in Japanese universities partly because of the Korean Wave.
: Democratic Party of Japan selects Kan Naoto as its new leader.
: South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun expresses hopes for a mature, future-oriented relationship with Japan’s next leader upon Hatoyama’s resignation.
: North Korea expresses disappointment at Prime Minister Hatoyama’s resignation for his yielding to US pressure over the Futenma relocation issue.
: Hatoyama Yukio resigns as prime minister of Japan.
: Business leaders of South Korea, Japan, and China issue a joint statement at their second Business Summit on Jeju Island, urging their governments to pursue a three-way FTA.
: According to South Korean government data, the Dokdo/Takeshima islets are estimated to be worth of 1.09 billion won ($920,000), which marks a 6.3 percent increase from last year due to the discovery of natural resources and the increase in public interest.
: The third tripartite summit of South Korea, Japan, and China is held on Jeju Island, South Korea.
: Japan’s Diet enacts a special measures bill into a law that enables inspections of cargo moving between Japan and North Korea.
: A UN panel queries Japan about children’s rights with reference to ethnic Korean school children that might be excluded from the high school waiver program.
: Prime Minister Hatoyama and Cabinet ministers discuss Japan’s possible responses to North Korea over the sinking of the Cheonan. Hatoyama calls President Lee Myung-bak to offer Japan’s support for Seoul’s punitive measures against North Korea.
: Japan, China, and South Korea trade ministers meet in Seoul to discuss regional economic cooperation.
: Environment ministers of China, Japan, and South Korea adopt an action plan for the first time to battle global warming, yellow dust, and other issues in the coming five years.
: South Korean Dong-a Ilbo, quoting Japan’s May 15 Sankei Shimbun, reports that the Yokohama branch of the Japan Teachers’ Union boycotted the right-wing middle school textbook due to many “inaccuracies,” and created their own materials.
: Foreign Ministers Okada Katsuya and Yu Myung-hwan meet on the sidelines of the trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting in Gyeongju.
: Foreign Ministers from China, South Korea, and Japan hold a meeting in Gyeongju, South Korea.
: About 200 South Korean and Japanese academics, writers, and attorneys announce in a joint statement that the 1910 annexation treaty is null and void.
: North Korea’s 12th Supreme People’s Assembly is held to approve government activities. Kim Jong-il does not attend the session.
: A joint survey by Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun and South Korea’s Hankook Ilbo shows that 57 percent of Japanese respondents think that Japan-South Korea relations are good while only 24 percent of South Korean respondents think bilateral ties are good.
: North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yup meets Japan’s minister in charge of the abduction issue.
: South Korea’s National Assembly approves a resolution requesting that Japan withdraw approval of elementary school textbooks that show the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as Japanese territory.
: Kyodo News reports that Japan is likely to extend sanctions against North Korea for another year after the April 13 deadline as the idea is approved at a meeting of senior vice ministers.
: Japan’s Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry approves five elementary school textbooks that describe the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as Japanese territory. Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan summons Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Toshinori Shigeie to file an official protest over the claim.
: North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun claims that Japan must compensate for crimes it committed during the Korean War and its colonial rule over the Korean peninsula.
: Japan provides a list of 175,000 Koreans who were forced into labor during the colonial period to South Korea.
: The South Korean government formally asks China and Japan to help locate the remains of Ahn Jung-guen, South Korea’s independence hero who was executed by Japan after assassinating Ito Hirobumi.
: Japan’s Lower House unanimously approves a bill to extend financial support to five Japanese abductees who were repatriated from North Korea for five years.
: The second Japan-South Korea joint history research panel issues a report.
: PM Hatoyama acknowledges difficulty in building a consensus within the ruling coalition to submit a bill on local foreign suffrage during the current Diet session.
: A UN Panel on racial equality and nondiscrimination expresses concern about Japan’s possible exclusion of pro-Pyongyang schools from its new tuition waiver program.
: Around 300 mothers of children who attend pro-DPRK schools rally in Tokyo demanding that the government not to exclude those high schools from tuition waiver program.
: South Korea and Japan police chiefs agree to establish a hotline to share information in preparation for the G20 meeting in Seoul and APEC leaders meeting in Tokyo.
: Nakai Hiroshi, Japan’s state minister in charge of the abduction issue, criticizes PM Hatoyama for failing to clearly state his view on the issue of pro-Pyongyang schools’ exclusion from the tuition exemption program.
: PM Hatoyama says the abduction issue is not linked to his administration’s pending decision on the inclusion of pro-Pyongyang schools in the tuition waiver program, but expresses the need for solid criteria to compare the curricula of these schools.
: Japan and North Korea clash over the abduction issue at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
: North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun says that the Japan must use “impartiality” in its decision on the possible exclusion of Korean schools in Japan in its tuition waiver program.
: The ROK-PRC-Japan Green Technology Forum is held on Korea’s Jeju Island. The forum brings green-technology experts and government officials to share information on environmentally friendly technologies, policies and practices.
: South Korean internet users stage a concerted attack on a Japanese website to protest anti-Korean posts by Japanese users.
: Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya visits Seoul and meets counterpart, Yu Myung-hwan. They agree to make joint efforts to mend ties as Okada offers an apology for Japan’s colonial rule over Korea and to work closely on issues such as the climate change and the global economic crisis.
Feb. 11, 2010: South Korea’s Unification Minister Hyun In-Taek and Foreign Minister Okada agree to enhance intelligence sharing on North Korea.
Feb. 11, 2010: South Korea’s Unification Minister Hyun In-Taek and Foreign Minister Okada agree to enhance intelligence sharing on North Korea.
: Prime Minister Chung Un-chan says that if Japanese Emperor Akihito visits South Korea, he should repent Japan’s past wrongdoings during the colonial era and commit to a new relationship between the two countries.
: South Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea says the government may formally request that Japan return about 660 books from the Choson era that are believed to have been be taken by Japan’s Governor-General of Korea during Japanese colonial rule.
: Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Haraguchi Kazahiro says that the Japanese government should not rush in submitting a bill to the ordinary Diet session to grant local voting rights to permanent foreign residents in Japan.
: South Korea’s Foreign Ministry renews its request that the Japanese government review its recent decision on pension refunds to Koreans who were forced into labor during the Pacific War.
: The UN independent investigator on human rights in the DPRK affirms during his meeting with Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya that he will cooperate with Japan on the abduction issue.
: Foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan confirm that they oppose lifting of sanctions against the North and that North Korea’s call for early talks on a peace treaty can be realized only after the North commits to denuclearization.
: Japan’s civic groups protest in front of a parliamentary committee in conjunction with the 900th weekly rally by former South Korean “comfort women.”
: Prime Minister (PM) Hatoyama Yukio and DPJ Secretary General Ozawa Ichiro agree to submit a bill to the regular Diet session in January to grant local-level suffrage to permanent residents in Japan.
: Central News Agency of DPRK criticizes Japan for “nuclear weaponization” under the cover of its three non-nuclear principles after Japan admits to having made a “secret pact” with the US government to introduce nuclear weapons into Japan in the past.
: Japan announces its decision to allow North Korea’s women’s soccer team to visit Tokyo for the East Asian Championships despite the sanctions in place. North Korea later announces its decision not to send its women’s team.
: DongA Ilbo reports that a poll by the Korea Research Center shows that anti-Japanese feelings are easing among South Koreans.
: Central News Agency of DPRK reports that Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of Supreme People’s Assembly of DPRK encouraged the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) in a New Year’s message to make a “tangible contribution to bringing an earlier day of the country’s reunification.”
: Prime Minister Hatoyama and President Lee meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and agree to improve bilateral relations.
: Prime Minister Hatoyama says Japan will impose sanctions against Pyongyang if necessary and confirms Tokyo’s comprehensive approach to dealing with North Korea.
: Japan’s Imperial Household Agency chief Haketa Shingo expresses caution in response to President Lee’s invitation of Emperor Akihito to Seoul saying that the emperor and empress do not usually engage to solve international concerns or political issues.
: Japan’s new Foreign Minister Okada Katusuya expresses optimistic views on the future of Japan-South Korea relations in meetings with South Korean reporters in Tokyo.
: Hatoyama Yukio becomes prime minister of Japan and forms a Cabinet.
: Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force successfully shoots down a mock ballistic missile in its second test of its Patriot missile interception system.
: President Lee expresses hopes that Emperor Akihito will visit South Korea next year to “put an end to the sense of distance.” Next year marks the 100th anniversary of Japan’s annexation of the Korean peninsula, which ended in 1945.
: Joongang Ilbo reports the ROK plans to deploy a short-range supersonic guided missile in the next two years that can be launched from a destroyer to hit facilities on land.
: North Korea’s Ambassador-in-charge of Normalization Talks with Japan Song Il-ho says that Tokyo and Pyongyang need a new accord because the earlier agreement was invalidated due to Tokyo’s hostile policy against the North.
: South Korea’s Finance Ministry releases a report on the trading patterns between South Korea, Japan, and China and concludes that intra-regional trade in Northeast Asia falls behind that of the European Union and North America.
: North Korean official Kim Young-nam in an interview says that Pyongyang is ready to talk with Japan if Tokyo abandons its “hostile policy” against Pyongyang.
: The DPJ, SDP, and the People’s New Party agree to form a coalition government.
: Japan’s chief delegate to the Six-Party Talks Saiki Akitaka and the U.S. Special Representative on the North Korean Policy Stephen Bosworth agree that the Six-Party Talks remain the key framework for the North’s denuclearization process.
: Japan’s Social Democratic Party (SDP) requests that a coalition document stipulate the importance of holding dialogue with North Korea.
: China, South Korea, and Japan agree to strengthen their cooperation in the area of cultural contents and creative industries.
: President Lee calls DPJ President Hatoyama to congratulate him for his party’s victory in the Lower House election.
: Japan’s Defense Ministry says that it seeks 176 billion yen to build up Japan’s missile defense system, as part of an overall 4.846 trillion yen request in the fiscal 2010 budget.
: Japan’s DPJ wins the Lower House election in a landslide victory.
: Japan’s Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea expresses concern that the Lower House election is neglecting the abduction issue.
: Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung dies at the age of 85.
: Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun reports that main opposition leader Hatoyama Yukio endorsed the construction of non-religious war memorial to replace Yasukuni Shrine.
: Korea Times reports that 1,886 South Korean citizens have filed a suit against Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun for misreporting of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s remarks on the Dokdo/Takeshima Islets issue.
: Pyongyang urges Tokyo’s next administration to drop Japan’s “hostile policy” against North Korea.
: A group of South Korean activists announce their intention to run ads in major U.S. dailies to promote South Korea’s desire to name of the waters between South Korea and Japan as “East Sea” rather than “Sea of Japan.”
: Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) announces its intention to seek an early solution to the Dokdo/Takeshima Islets issue once it takes power, and states Japan has territorial sovereignty over the islets.
: Japan approves its 2009 Defense White Paper, which designates China’s growing naval activities and regime insecurity caused by North Korea as national security threats. South Korea’s Defense Ministry issues a protest over its description of the Dokdo/Takeshima Islets as Japanese territory.
: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and chair of the European Union, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden announce the conclusion of negotiations for the South Korea-EU free trade agreement.
: President Lee and PM Aso hold a summit in Tokyo and agree to stand united to deal with North Korea’s nuclear and missile development program.
: Finance ministers of South Korea and Japan, Yoon Jeung-hyun and Yasano Kaoru, agree during their meeting in Tokyo that financial markets are stabilizing and agree to further cooperate in accordance with international agreements such as the leaders’ summit in London in April.
: Central News Agency of DPRK criticizes Japan’s move to enact a law enabling its Coast Guard to inspect North Korean cargo as “aiming at justifying war actions.”
: A labor union of high school teachers in Japan says that a poll shows that 60 percent of high school students in 148 schools oppose constitutional revision.
: Japan’s Coast Guard says that North Korea issued the ban on navigation on waters off its eastern coast for a military exercise from June 25 and July 10.
: An OCED report says Korea’s exports in the information and communication technology sector were recorded the first among member countries.
: Japan’s economic sanctions banning all exports to North Korea take effect until April next year.
: President Obama and President Lee hold a summit in Washington DC and agree to strengthen cooperation with neighboring states to send a clear message to North Korea.
: The Japanese House of Representatives unanimously adopts a resolution that calls for further efforts for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.
: Seoul, Beijing, and Tokyo sign an agreement on environmental issues during the 11th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting in Beijing. The agreement covers a range of issues including green growth, prevention of yellow dust, and pollution control.
: The UNSC unanimously adopts Resolution 1874 condemning North Korea’s nuclear test on May 25.
: Korea Times reports a poll conducted by Hankook Ilbo revealed that 63.1 percent of respondents did not approve President Lee’s management of state affairs. The same poll shows that 57 percent believed that former President Roh Moo-hyun’s death had to do with the Lee administration’s “political retaliation.”
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura Takeo says the Japanese government wants Washington to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
: Over 2,200 people rally in Tokyo for the protection of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution in commemoration of the late Kato Shuichi, one of the founders of the Article 9 Association.
: Defense Ministers of the U.S., Korea and Japan meet at the 8th Shangri-La Security Dialogue and agree that they will respond firmly to North Korea’s provocations with a nuclear test and missile launches.
: President Lee and Japanese opposition leader Hatoyama Yukio meet and agree that Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. should closely work together to encourage China to come up with a strong UNSC resolution to deal with Pyongyang’s nuclear test.
: Japan’s House of Councilors unanimously approves a resolution condemning North Korea’s nuclear test. The House of Representatives adopted a similar resolution the day of the North’s test.
: Japan’s Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu says that Pyongyang may develop nuclear warheads.
: North Korea conducts its second underground nuclear test and fires three short-range missiles toward the East Sea/Sea of Japan.
: Japan proposes that the UN Security Council be convened for an urgent meeting to discuss North Korea’s nuclear test.
: Former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun commits suicide.
: U.S. Special Representative on North Korean Policy Stephen Bosworth visits China, South Korea, and Japan to discuss a response to North Korea’s threat to quit the Six-Party Talks.
: As part of the Chiang Mai Initiative, China and Japan agree to provide $38.4 billion (32 percent) of the Initiative’s pool, while Korea agrees to provide $19.2 billion (16 percent) during their finance ministers meeting in Bali.
: Korea’s Shinhan Bank announces that it has won a preliminary license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency to operate a separate unit in Japan.
: Japan and South Korea sign a letter of intent on bilateral defense cooperation, the first formal military pact between the two countries.
: South Korea’s Foreign Ministry expresses deep regret over PM Aso’s offering to the Yasukuni Shrine.
: Former Finance Minister Nakagawa Shoichi suggests that Japan should consider possessing nuclear weapons as a deterrent to a threat from North Korea.
: Foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea, Nakasone Hirofumi and Yu Myung-hwan, agree that the two countries should work closely to resume the Six-Party Talks to make progress on the North’s nuclear development program.
: PM Aso says that the Six-Party Talks should be the principal venue for the North’s denuclearization efforts.
: The UN Security Council adopts a nonbinding President’s Statement condemning North Korea’s missile launch.
: South Korean President Lee, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, and Japanese PM Aso meet in Thailand and agree that the three countries should voice strong concern over North Korea’s missile launch.
: South Korean government protests over the Japanese government’s approval of a controversial textbook from Jiyusha.
: According to a Yomouri Shimbun survey, 78 percent of respondents want Japan to strengthen sanctions against North Korea. Eighty-eight percent of the respondents said that they feel anxious about North Korea’s missile development program.
: Japanese dailies Asahi and Yumouri report that the scope for response of the PAC-3 missile defense system falls short of effectively defending Japan.
: North Korea launches a long-range ballistic missile.
: Prime Minister Aso Taro and President Lee Myung-bak meet prior to the G20 summit in London and agree that North Korea’s launch of a “satellite” will be a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718.
: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that the U.S. has no plan to militarily pre-empt Pyongyang’s missile. On the same day, South Korean President Lee says in his interview with Financial Times that South Korea does not intend to take any military action.
: Japan’s National Security Council authorizes the defense minister to mobilize its missile interceptors for the first time.
: Japan’s Defense Minister Hamada issues an order to shoot down any part of a North Korean rocket that might fall toward Japanese territory.
: Six-Party Talks negotiators from South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. gather in Washington to coordinate their response to North Korea’s plan to launch a satellite rocket.
: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns North Korea that a missile launch will be a “provocative act” that could have consequences.
: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry warns that the Six-Party Talks will collapse if the UN imposes sanctions against its rocket launch.
: Japan’s Six-Party Talks negotiator Saiki meets his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei and they agree that the two countries will cooperate for North Korea’s denuclearization.
: Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and Defense Minister Hamada meet. China urges North Korea not to launch a satellite.
: PM Aso says that Japan could impose more sanctions against North Korea if the North fires a missile over Japanese territory.
: Choson Ilbo reports that the Lee administration is considering drafting a list of targets for sanctions against Pyongyang in the event that the North fires a long-range missile.
: South Korea’s Presidential Council on National Branding publishes a survey about South Korea’s image, which shows that the country’s national brand ranks 33rd due mostly to inter-Korean confrontation and insufficient contribution to the international community.
: Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Taksu Yukio says that Japan will ask the UN Security Council to take immediate action against North Korea in the event of Pyongyang’s missile launch.
: Former North Korean agent Kim Hyun-hee involved in the 1987 bombing of a Korean Airline flight meets the brother and son of a Japanese woman abducted by North Korea.
: Japan’s Defense Minister Hamada Yazukazu urges Pyongyang to refrain from launching a rocket.
: North Korea’s spokesman of General Staff of the Korean People’s Army warns that any interception attempt of its “satellite” will cause a counterstrike.
: Japan and South Korea hold working-level meeting in Seoul over the demarcation of their maritime border (EEZ) but fail to produce any agreement.
: Kyodo News cites a senior official at the Ministry of Defense that Japan would deploy two arsenal ships with the latest Aegis radar system to intercept the North’s missile launch in case Pyongyang continues its preparation of the launch.
: FM Nakasone says that even a satellite launch by North Korea will be a violation of the UN Security Council resolution 1718, which bans Pyongyang from conducting any nuclear explosion or missile launch.
: President Lee and PM Aso speak on the phone and reaffirm their commitment to close relations with Washington before Aso’s meeting with the U.S. President Barack Obama.
: South Korea’s 2008 defense white paper says that it is “fully prepared” to defend its territory including the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Japan’s Shimane Prefecture celebrates “Takeshima Day” as the South Korean Foreign Ministry and the public denounce the celebration.
: Japan and South Korea wrap up a four-day session of a joint fisheries committee and reach an agreement on the total fish quota in each other’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
: Kyodo News opinion poll shows support for Aso Cabinet as low as 13.4 percent.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi meets Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan in Seoul and they agree to deepen the bilateral cooperation.
: China’s official Xinhua News reports that South Korean, Japanese, and Chinese astronomers will collaborate to build a 6,000 km-diameter radio telescope, which will be the world’s largest in its scale.
: Japanese and South Korean top negotiators for the Six-Party Talks, Saiki Akitaka and Kim Sook, discuss the denuclearization of North Korea.
: Kim Hyun-hee says in her interview with Japan’s NHK that she is certain that Takuchi Yaeko is alive in North Korea and expresses her desire to meet with the Takuchi family.
: PM Aso and President Lee meet at South Korea’s Blue House and agree to promote bilateral cooperation.
: Prime Minister Aso Taro and President Lee Myung-bak hold a meeting in Seoul with business leaders of the two countries.
: South Korea’s Coast Guard says that it will build a special pier in Ulleung Island to respond rapidly to an emergency on the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Kyodo reports that a senior North Korean diplomat warns that the North would not proceed with the disablement of its nuclear facilities unless Japan fulfills its obligation of providing energy aid to the North under the Six-Party Talks deal.
: Yonhap reports that the Japanese government has decided to exclude any territorial description of the Dokdo/Takeshima islets in a high school teachers’ guidebook.
: Korea Times reports that some Japanese web users coordinated a cyber-attack against South Korean nonprofit group Voluntary Agency Network of Korea that advocates South Korea’s claim on the islets.
: South Korea’s Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, a vocal advocate of South Korea’s claim over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets, says that its website has become the target of cyber attacks from coordinated Japanese web users.
: South Korea, Japan, and China hold their first trilateral summit meeting in Dazaifu, Fukuoka, Japan.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura Takeo says that Japan will continue to seek bilateral talks with North Korea on the sidelines of the Six-Party Talks.
: The Six-Party Talks are held to discuss the verification protocol Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
: Kyodo releases a poll that shows that the approval rating of Aso’s Cabinet dropped to 25.5 percent as of the first weekend of December.
: 388 South Korean atomic bomb survivors file lawsuits against Japan at district courts in Hiroshima, Osaka, and Nagasaki Prefectures with a demand to compensate them for psychological suffering caused by its refusal to disburse health-care benefits.
: Japan, South Korea, and U.S. meet to lay groundwork before the Six-Party Talks.
: The police chiefs of South Korea and Japan agree to set up a hotline to promote cooperation to fight cyber crime.
: Foreign Minister Nakasone welcomes the plan to resume the Six-Party Talks from Dec. 8.
: Foreign Ministers Yu Myung-hwan and Nakasone Hirofumi meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and agree on how to proceed with the verification measure of Pyongyang’s nuclear development program.
: Seoul’s City Council adopts a resolution urging Japan to return the Uigwe looted by Japan’s colonial administration in 1922.
: Kyodo reports that Japanese and South Korean foreign and defense officials agree to cooperate for the denuclearization of North Korea.
: North Korea’s Central News Agency of DPRK criticizes Japan for its efforts to present a human rights resolution against North Korea to the UN Committee on Human Rights as “intolerable violation” of the North’s sovereignty.
: Finance Ministers of South Korea, Japan, and China release a joint statement that they would hold more frequent talks on macroeconomic and financial policies and to expand bilateral currency swap deals.
: Democratic Party of Japan compiles a draft proposal for additional economic sanctions against North Korea to include a total ban on exports and travel to the North.
: Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Gen. Toshio Tamogami is dismissed for his essay in which he argued that Japan was a victim, dragged into the war against China by Chiang Kai-shek.
: South Korea’s state-funded center, Donghae (East Sea) Research Institute, opens to conduct research on resources of the East Sea/Sea of Japan and the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Japan agrees to a U.S. position that other countries can shoulder Japan’s share of energy assistance to North Korea.
: Seoul Metropolitan Government approves a plan to build the Museum of War and Women’s Human Rights. It will exhibit evidence of Japan’s forced mobilization of Korean women as military sex slaves and have rooms for related educational programs and seminars.
: President Lee Myung-bak and Prime Minister Aso Taro hold their first summit meeting in Beijing before the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
: North Korea’s Minju Joseon argues that Japan should be removed from the Six- Party Talks since it impedes the denuclearization process.
: Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Pyongyang ordered its diplomats to stay alert ahead of an upcoming announcement.
: South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. meet to discuss trilateral security cooperation.
: Prime Minister Aso criticizes the U.S.’s decision to delist North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List in a parliamentary committee.
: Foreign Minister Nakasone Hirofumi responds to the U.S. delisting of North Korea by issuing a statement that Japan will work toward the North’s verification measure along with other participants in the Six-Party Talks.
: The U.S. delists North Korea from its State Sponsors of Terrorism List.
: Japan extends sanctions against North Korea for another six months.
: South Korean Yonhap says that North Korea fired a short-range missile into the Yellow Sea.
: Japanese Cabinet defends a new handbook for middle school education that describes the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as Japanese territory.
: South Korea and Japan hold their seventh round of high-level talks to bolster their economic ties.
: Japan announces its intension to extend economic sanctions against Pyongyang for another six months after Oct. 13.
: In his address at the UN General Assembly, North Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Pak Gil-Yon defends Pyongyang’s resumption of its nuclear activities and claims that “war criminal state” Japan is not suited to be a permanent U.N. Security Council member.
: Aso Taro is appointed as Japan’s prime minister.
: The Chongryon group of North Korean residents urges Japan to compensate for its wartime aggression before the normalization of the bilateral relations.
: Japan announces that a trilateral summit among China, South Korea, and Japan proposed for Sept. 21 will be postponed following Prime Minister Fukuda’s resignation.
: Prime Minister Fukuda announces his resignation after being in office for less than a year.
: Korea Times quotes diplomatic sources in Seoul and reports that Japan described the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as Japanese territory in its Defense White Paper 2008. It is the fourth consecutive time Japan’s annual defense paper makes that claim.
: Washington Post carries a full-page advertisement funded by some 110,000 South Korean internet users supporting South Korea’s claim to the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: South Korea’s Democratic Labor Party and North Korea’s Democratic Labor Party issue a joint statement criticizing Japan’s claim over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: ROK nuclear envoy Kim Sook and Japanese counterpart Saiki Akitaka discuss a strategy to encourage Pyongyang to accept a proposed verification mechanism. Tokyo shares with Seoul the outcome of its working-level negotiations with Pyongyang.
: The U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood reiterates that it will not take North Korea off its State Sponsors of Terrorism List until Pyongyang agrees to a proposed process of a full verification.
: President Lee, in his speech commemorating Korea’s liberation from Japan’s colonial rule, urges Japan to face up to history and refrain from unfortunate past today. He avoids directly referring to the Dokdo/Takeshima islets dispute.
: Prime Minister Fukuda does not visit Yasukuni Shrine. Three of his Cabinet Ministers – Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Ota Seiichi, Justice Minister Yasuoka Okiharu and State Minister Noda Seiko – make separate visits to the shrine but refrain from characterizing the visit as “official.”
: North Korea agrees with the terms of reinvestigation of the abduction issue. Foreign Minister Komura describes the agreement as “progress.”
: Japan and North Korea meet for a 2-day working-level meeting to discuss the implementation of the agreement reached in June.
: Foreign Minister Komura says that Japan will consider a partial lifting of its sanctions against North Korea if it starts the reinvestigation of the abduction issue.
: The U.S. announces its decision to postpone its removal of North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List from the original date Aug. 11.
: South Korea’ Ambassador to Japan Kwon Chul-hyun returns to Japan after being recalled in protest over Japan’s claim over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Sankei Shimbun poll shows that 73.7 percent of Japanese respondents think that the Dokdo/Takeshima islets are Japanese territory, while 75 percent says that the Japanese government should lay stronger claim to the islets.
: The U.S. National Security Council’s senior director for Asian Affairs announces that the U.S. Board of Geographic Names reversed its change of the status of the Dokdo/Takeshima islets from “non-designated territory” to “South Korea.”
: South Korea starts a 3-day defense exercise in waters near Ulleung Island and Dokdo in preparation for an invasion of the area by countries including Japan, according to South Korea’s Navy.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that the territorial dispute over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets has led to cancellations of Japan-South Korean student exchange programs.
: Korean Times reports that South Korean Defense White Paper 2008 will make a stronger claim on the sovereign over the islets.
: Seoul establishes a joint task force on the Dokdo/Takeshima islets to counter Japan’s claim on the islets. The countermeasure system will be headed by South Korean Prime Minister’s Office and joined by relevant ministries.
: Foreign ministers of the Six-Party Talks meet in Singapore on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urges North Korean counterpart Pak Ui-Chun to set up a nuclear verification regime and to address the abduction issue.
: Yomiuri Shimbun quotes South Korea’s Yonhap as saying that South Korea will postpone the bilateral FTA talks indefinitely due to unfavorable political environment.
: Choson Ilbo reports that the U.S. Library of Congress makes changes to the naming of the Dokdo/Takeshima islets from “Tok Island (Korea)” to “Liancourt Rocks.”
: South Korea’s Ambassador to Japan Kwon Chul-hyun says in a press conference that Seoul may withdraw its support for Tokyo’s efforts on the abduction issue as well as on the North’s development of long-range missile that can reach Japan.
: South Korea’s Coast Guard says it stepped up patrols near the Dokdo islets.
: NHK TV reports that Japan has announced its plan to educate students on the islets beginning in 2009 instead next year instead of 2012.
: The Japanese government announces that new guidelines for middle school teachers will describe the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as an integral part of Japanese territory.
: Foreign Minister Yoo Myung-hwan summons Japanese Ambassador Shigeie Toshinori to protest the decision. Ruling GNP Supreme Council member Rep. Chung Mong-joon and DP Chairman Chung Se-hyun lead delegations to the islets.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that President Lee Myung-bak made ambiguous remarks regarding the islets in a meeting with Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo on the sidelines of G8 summit in Hokkaido.
: A Heads of Delegation Meeting of the Six-Party Talks is held in Beijing.
: New York Times carries a full-page advertisement, “Do you know?” claiming South Korean sovereignty over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: FM Komura says that Tokyo plans to urge Washington to keep the North on the terrorist-sponsor list.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura tells the Diet that Japan will keep urging the U.S. not to remove Pyongyang from the terrorist-sponsor list.
: Negotiators from Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. meet to discuss ways to proceed with the Six-Party Talks.
: ROK FM Yu Myung-hwan, a former ambassador to Japan, says a stronger alliance with the U.S. will help improve relations with Japan and China.
: South Korea urges Japan to provide North Korea with economic and energy aid to further progress in the Six-Party Talks.
: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice restates U.S. willingness to remove Pyongyang from the terrorist-sponsor list if it submits a full declaration of its nuclear activities.
: Foreign ministers of Japan, South Korea, and China hold a meeting and agree that they will cooperate on North Korean issues. Tokyo reiterates that it will not endorse a possible move by the U.S. to remove Pyongyang from the state sponsors of terrorism list.
: FM Komura comments on the Tokyo-Pyongyang bilateral talks and says that Japan will make a small step as the North makes a small step. Japan decides to lift some sanctions in exchange for Pyongyang’s promise to reinvestigate the abduction issue.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japanese-made vacuum pumps were used for Pyongyang’s uranium enrichment, which was discovered during an inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year.
: Japan and North Korea hold bilateral talks in Beijing.
: Official Central News Agency of DPRK issues a statement that it opposes all forms of terrorism.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials say that the normalization of diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang is “crucial” for the Six- Party Talks.
: LDP defense policy panel proposes that Japan should acquire a capability to strike its adversary’s missile sites under the new National Defense Program Guidelines.
: Okinawa holds local elections. Ruling Liberal Democratic Party loses control of Okinawa Assembly.
: Japan and North Korea hold an unofficial preparatory meeting and agree to meet for official bilateral talks on June 11-12.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy announces the South Korean economy posted its first monthly trade surplus in six months.
: Code-sharing agreement between Japan’s All Nippon Airways and South Korea’s Asiana takes effect.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura Nobunaka says that Japan has no intention of politicizing the Dokdo/Takeshima issue.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japan’s Education Ministry plans to describe the Dokdo/Takeshima Islets as “Japanese territory” in its revised curriculum handbook.
: Kyodo News quotes Japanese government sources that North Korea suggested to a Japanese official in early 2004 that there were abductees other than the 15 officially admitted by Pyongyang at that time.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that the support rate for PM Fukuda continues to plunge, reaching 20 percent in its latest survey. It is down from 25 percent in the previous survey conducted on April 19 and 20.
: Associated Press reports that South Korea has approved financial assistance to victims of abduction by Pyongyang. A Unification Ministry statement says that the South Korean government approved a total of $1.1 million in compensation to 31 families of abductees.
: Finance ministers from Japan, South Korea, and China meet in Madrid and agree to closely cooperate to cope with financial market turbulence.
: South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense announces that Seoul and Tokyo are working on a comprehensive military cooperation agreement, marking the first codified bilateral military cooperation since the end of Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
: Chosun Ilbo reports that 90 percent of South Koreans believe bilateral issues between Japan and South Korea remain unsettled; according to TV network TBS, 44 percent of Japanese share the view.
: President Lee Myung-bak and Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo hold a summit in Tokyo and agree to pursue a more mature bilateral partnership.
: Some 600 Korean residents and other foreign nationalities gather in Tokyo to demand voting rights in local elections in Japan.
: Japan’s Cabinet confirms that economic sanctions against Pyongyang will be renewed for another six months. The second round of sanctions expires on April 13.
: Parliamentary elections are held in South Korea. President Lee’s GNP (Grand National Party) holds 153 seats of the 299 seats (from 128 seats), while the opposition liberal UDP (United Democratic Party) plunges from 141 to 81.
: Japan Foreign Minister Komura Masahiko and South Korea Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan agree that Tokyo and Seoul will work closely to peacefully resolve North Korean nuclear issue and the abduction of Japanese citizens by Pyongyang as Yu makes a four-day visit to Japan to discuss better ties with Japan.
: North Korea urges Japan to make apologies and compensation for the “comfort women” in the official Minju Joson newspaper.
: Japanese carmaker Toyota announces that it will sell the Toyota brand in South Korea in addition to the luxury Lexus brand next year.
: Top Japanese negotiator to the Six-Party Talks Akitaka Saaiki and U.S. counterpart Christopher Hill agree that North Korea should provide a complete account of its nuclear programs.
: Japan’s top government spokesman Machimura Nobutaka says that the Japanese government is likely to extend economic sanctions against Pyongyang after they expire on April 13 in the absence of progress in the bilateral issues.
: South Korea’s Presidential Office announces that President Lee will visit Tokyo on April 20 to hold a summit with Prime Minister Fukuda on April 21.
: South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan asks the Japanese government to start a campaign to grant suffrage to South Koreans residing in Japan during his meeting with the leader of New Komeito Ota.
: South Korea’s Knowledge-based Economy Minister Lee Youn-ho says that the South Korean government and business leaders will formally ask Japan to cooperate to reduce the bilateral trade deficit during President Lee’s summit with PM Fukuda in April.
: President Lee stresses pragmatic diplomacy between Japan and South Korea during his speech commemorating the Independence Movement Day.
: Sony announces that it will jointly produce LCD panels with Sharp in a bid to replace Samsung Electronics as the leader in global shipments of LCD TVs.
: Lee Myung-bak inaugurated South Korea’s president. During his inauguration speech, Lee emphasizes “global diplomacy,” and “pragmatic inter-Korean relations” as pillars of his government’s foreign policy goals.
: Prime Minister Fukuda and President Lee have a 50-minute summit at South Korea’s presidential Blue House and agree to develop a future-oriented bilateral relationship. They also discuss various bilateral issues, including the resumption of FTA negotiations and the North Korean nuclear issue.
: Foreign Minister Komura Masahiko stresses that there is no difference between President Lee’s North Korea policy and that of Japan.
: President-elect Lee meets Democratic Party of Japan leader Ozawa. Ozawa promises Lee that he will try to ensure that South Koreans residing in Japan can be granted voting rights in local-level elections.
: Korean Institute of Defense Analysis hosts a trilateral South Korea-Japan U.S. security workshop and discusses nonsecurity related incidents such as rescue missions. They agree to jointly formulate plans to counter transnational disasters or accidents.
: President-elect Lee meets with 10 Japanese lawmakers led by Koichi Kato, former secretary general of the LDP, and discusses issues including the North Korean nuclear issue and the resumption of the FTA talks.
: North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency says that Japan-North Korea relations will not improve if Japan continues to make the resolution of the abduction issue a condition for better bilateral ties.
: Japan reiterates its call on North Korea to fulfill a commitment to provide a full account of its nuclear programs and facilities under the Six-Party Talks.
: The remains of 101 South Korean military conscripts by Japan’s imperial army during World War II return to South Korea from Japan. ROK government delegation and 50 family members of the victims hold a memorial service at the Yutenji Temple in Tokyo. Japanese Foreign, Health, and Labor Ministry officials attend.
: President-elect Lee says that South Korea will make no demand during his presidency for apologies about Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula at a meeting at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
: Lee Sang-duk, a special envoy from South Korea’s President-elect Lee, pays a visit to Prime Minister Fukuda. According to Choson Ilbo, Fukuda says that Tokyo will support Seoul and cooperate in its efforts to reunify the two Koreas.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy says competitiveness of the country’s digital electronics industry moved up 3 to 5 percent points in 2007.
: Japan and the U.S. urge Pyongyang to submit “complete and correct” declaration of its nuclear programs and facilities.
: President-elect Lee and Fukuda have a 15-minute telephone conversation and agree to work on better bilateral ties and confirm that they share basic values.
: South Korean Joongang Ilbo reports that experts in South Korea express insecurity that Seoul will fall behind in an increasingly competitive arms race over Russia’s new development of missiles and Japan’s missile test.
: Lee Myung-bak wins 48.7 percent of the vote with the largest margin of victory in a South Korean presidential race since democratic elections began in 1987.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura in a press conference hopes that the new South Korean President will exercise leadership so that Japan-South Korean relations will develop in a better direction.
: Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully conducts a test in Hawaii intercepting a missile as part of an effort to build its own missile defense system.
: European Parliament passes a resolution on the “comfort women” issue.
: Japan’s Sharp Corp. sues Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea alleging patent violations for liquid crystal displays.
: Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry survey shows that one out of five Japanese companies operating in Korea thinks that Korean economy is at risk of bubble-bursting.
: Tokyo and Seoul agree at their 10th bilateral talks that they would reduce next year’s fishing quota in each other’s exclusive economic zones to 50,000 tons.
: Governors of Gangwon Province of South Korea and Tottori Prefecture in Japan hold a meeting in Chuncheon, South Korea, and agree to resume cross-border exchanges after a more than two-year standoff. The exchange programs were active between 1994 and 2005, but were suspended over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets dispute.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports a survey Japan shows that 75 percent of Japanese respondents said that Washington should keep the North on its list of state sponsors of terrorism until the abduction issue is resolved.
: Canadian House of Commons approves a resolution calling on the Japanese government to formally admit its sexual enslavement of over 200,000 women during World War II.
: South Korea announces the World Trade Organization’s ruling that Japan’s countervailing duties on South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc. are illegal.
: PM Fukuda and President Roh hold a meeting on the sidelines of the 11th ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the 8th East Asian Summit in Singapore. This marks the first summit between Japan and South Korea since Fukuda took office in September.
: Relatives of Japanese abducted by North Korea during the 1970s go to Washington to ask U.S. officials not to remove Pyongyang from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
: Ambassador to Japan Yu Myung-whan delivers South Korea’s “regrets” over its role in kidnapping Kim Dae-jung from Japanese soil in 1973.
: PM Fukuda says that Japan will not pursue the issue of abduction of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung any further in consideration of better Japan-South Korean relations in a future-oriented manner.
: Kim Dae-jung expresses concern over Japan’s conservative moves toward militarism during his speech at Ritsumeikan University, Japan.
: FM Komura says that Japan may consider the return of “some” of the still-missing Japanese as a sign of “progress” on the abductee issue.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura calls for an apology from Seoul over its government’s role in kidnapping Kim Dae-jung from Japanese soil in 1973 as violating Japan’s sovereignty.
: South Korean Customs Service says South Korea’s trade deficit with Japan hit a record-high $21.96 billon from January through September.
: Prime Minister Fukuda’s Cabinet approves the extension of sanctions against Pyongyang on the grounds that no specific progress on the abduction issues has been made as well as other conditions not being met.
: Foreign Minister Komura says that Japan accepts that a joint document between Seoul and Pyongyang does not mention the abduction issue.
: Japan says that it values progress in the Six-Party Talks as North Korea agrees to dismantle three nuclear facilities in Yongbyon and declare all its nuclear programs by Dec. 31.
: South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il hold an inter-Korean summit. Roh urges Pyongyang to forge better bilateral relations with Tokyo. Kim is said to reiterate that the abduction issue is over.
: South Korea’s Nexon Mobile game developer announces at the Tokyo Game Show 2007 that the company has made agreements with three major Japanese mobile communication companies, Softbank Mobile, KDDI, and NTT DoCoMo.
: Japan’s new PM telephones President Roh and they agree to meet on the sidelines of ASEAN Plus Three meeting in November.
: The Six-Party Talks begins aiming at reaching an agreement over specific methods for disabling North Korea’s nuclear facilities.
: Fukuda is elected Japan’s prime minister.
: Fukuda Yasuo is elected president of the LDP.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that a tri-nation survey shows that 77 percent of Japanese respondents think that Japan, South Korea, and China should work closely to resolve the North Korean nuclear development program.
: Nintendo Korea says that it has filed a suit against those who violated its copyright for game software through internet sites in South Korea.
: Japan’s Kotoura in, Tottori Prefecture decides that a new inscription of a monument commemorating Japan-South Korea ties will exclude a previous reference to “East Sea.”
: Abe announces intention to resign, citing refusal by Democratic Party Japan leader Ozawa to agree to a meeting to discuss extension of the Maritime Self-Defense Force mission.
: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum is held in Sydney. ROK President Roh and Japanese PM Abe attend, but do not meet.
: Trade ministers of Japan and South Korea agree to meet frequently to pave ways to resume the FTA talks.
: Japan and DPRK hold normalization talks and produce no agreement.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Yosano Kaoru says Japan must consider providing humanitarian assistance to North Korea’s flood victims regardless of political considerations.
: North Korea’s delegate Song Il-Ho expresses expectations for upcoming normalization talks with Japan.
: Lawmakers of South Korea and Japan meet in Seoul to discuss bilateral issues including North Korea’s nuclear development program and FTA.
: Japan and ROK agree to conduct joint research on daylight savings time.
: Abe reshuffles his Cabinet, naming Machimura Nobutaka as foreign minister.
: Finance Ministers of Japan and ROK hold bilateral financial coordination meeting and agree to cooperate to reduce instability in the global political economy.
: Japanese and South Korean governments announce that they plan to carry out a joint survey on the level of radiation in waters near the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Two Koreas commemorate Liberation Day.
: South Korea’s Investigative Commission on Pro-Japanese Collaborators’ Property decides to confiscate land owned by the descendants of 10 pro-Japanese collaborators during the 1910-45 Japan’s colonial rule.
: Foreign Ministers of Japan Aso Taro and North Korea Pak Ui-Chun meet on the sidelines of the ARF.
: Tokyo and Seoul reach an open skies agreement.
: Second Hallyu Expo Forever, Asian Star Culture Expo (FACE) opens in Tokyo.
: Abe’s LDP loses in the Upper House election.
: North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan complains about Tokyo’s pressure after the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Six-Party Talks.
: Tokyo District Court rejects a lawsuit filed by a limited partnership company by Chongryun seeking exemption from fixed asset taxes on its headquarter buildings in Tokyo.
: Delegates of Japan and North Korea meet on the sidelines of the Six-Party Talks and agree to make mutual efforts to resolve bilateral issues and to move the talks forward.
: Six-Party Talks held in Beijing.
: North Korea announces that it shut down its nuclear reactor at the Yongbyon facility in line with the Feb. 13 agreement.
: WTO publishes its ruling that Japan illegally imposed duties on computer chips from South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc.
: Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the number of high schools offering Korean increased from 73 in 1995 to 286 in 2005.
: Seoul lodges a complaint against the Japanese government over Japan Defense White Paper’s inclusion of the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as Japanese territory.
: North Korea’s Foreign Ministry raises concerns over Japan’s participation in the Six-Party Talks after the Japanese government- affiliated collection agency Resolution and Collection Corp. took over the property of pro-Pyongyang group Chongryun.
: 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.
: PM Abe and ROK President Roh agreed to have a summit meeting as soon as possible during their telephone conversation.
: Japan’s Diet elects Abe as the new prime minister of Japan.
: Abe Shinzo elected new president of the Liberal Democratic Party.
: Japan imposes financial sanctions under a UNSC resolution. Financial institutions are prohibited from conducting fund transfers and overseas remittances to 15 North Korea-linked financial institutions and trading firms as well as Jakob Steiger.
: Kyodo News reports North Korea wants Japan’s new prime minister to implement a 2002 Pyongyang Declaration committing both countries to work toward normalizing ties.
: Japan’s Foreign Ministry says that Japan and the ROK will hold a joint radioactive survey near the Dokdo/Takeshima islets from Oct. 7-14.
: Japan and the ROK conduct a joint rescue exercise in the East China Sea.
: Kyodo News reports that Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe says that he aims to enact a new Constitution in about five years to replace the current pacifist Constitution if he becomes prime minister.
: ROK Vice Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan expresses Seoul’s concern over possible changes to Japan’s pacifist Constitution to his Japanese counterpart Vice Foreign Minister Yachi Shotaro during their bilateral “strategic dialogue.”
: Trilateral transportation ministers of Japan, South Korea, and China agree to cooperate to build a unified foundation for logistics services in Northeast Asia.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe says he will try to hold bilateral summits with South Korea and China if he becomes prime minister.
: Japan and ROK end a two-day negotiation aiming to draw the EEZ boundaries without reaching an agreement.
: Japan’s former PM Nakasone Yasuhiro says Tokyo needs to consider developing nuclear weapons against North Korea’s threat.
: ROK Senior Secretary for Unification, Foreign Affairs, and National Security says that President Roh Moo-hyun will not hold a summit with Japan if the next leader decides to visit Yasukuni Shrine.
: PM Koizumi visits Yasukuni. ROK summons Japanese Ambassador to ROK Shotaro and expresses “deep disappointment and indignation.”
: A Yomiuri Shimbun poll shows that half of respondents do not want the next prime minister to visit Yasukuni, marking the first time in three surveys since February that those opposed exceed those in favor.
: ROK representatives, including FM Ban Ki-moon, attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Hashimoto Ryutaro.
: ROK Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry says Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe’s April visit to Yasukuni was “very regrettable.”
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe describes North Korean leader Kim Jong-il as having a “rational” way of thinking.
: ROK Blue House Chief of Staff Lee Byung-wan criticizes Japan’s reaction to North Korea’s missile tests and calls it “truly evil.”
: President of Mindan and other leaders announce their resignations, taking responsibility for the internal turmoil caused by their moves for reconciliation with pro-Pyongyang group, Chongryun earlier this year.
: Samsung Electronics announces that together with Sony, it will invest $1.9 billion to build a liquid crystal display panel factory in South Korea’s Chungcheong province.
: The UN Security Council adopts resolution 1695 requiring all member states to prevent the transfer of funds as well as goods and technology that can be used in North Korea’s missile development or weapons of mass destruction program.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe clarifies his comment on a preemptive strike, saying that he was thinking about a scenario in which missiles had already been fired at Japan.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe says it is “regrettable” that South Korea uses such an expression.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe says Japan should consider whether Japan’s constitution allows Japan to attack North Korea missile bases as an act of self-defense.
: ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade summons Japan’s Ambassador to ROK Oshima Shotaro to urge prudence regarding Japan’s moves to impose a UN Security Council sanction on North Korea.
: JDA head Nukaga says Japan should consider preemptive strikes “if an enemy definitely has a way of attacking Japan.”
: ROK criticizes Japan for “making a fuss” over Pyongyang’s missile launches.
: North Korea’s ambassador in charge of normalization talks with Japan, Song Il-ho, criticizes Tokyo’s moves toward economic sanctions and says that Japan- North Korean relations “have gone past the worst to the confrontational stage.”
: A Kyodo News poll shows more than 80 percent of Japanese respondents thinks that Japan should increase economic sanctions against North Korea.
: Japan’s pro-Seoul group Mindan officially retracts a statement of reconciliation with pro-Pyongyang counterpart Chongryun.
: Japan Defense Agency head Nukaga Fukushiro tells a Diet panel that Japan will increase efforts to establish a missile defense shield in cooperation with Washington.
: North Korea launches seven missiles into the Sea of Japan/East Sea. Japan imposes a ban on port entry of the North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92.
: ROK conducts a maritime survey near the Dokdo/Takeshima islets. Japan’s FM Aso protests to ROK FM Ban during a telephone conversation.
: Japan, South Korea, and China adopt the Hokkaido Declaration and agree to boost the number of tourists to 17 million in five years.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that business leaders prefer Fukuda Yasuo as the next prime minister in consideration of his views that take Japan’s relations with other Asian neighbors seriously.
: The pro-Seoul group Mindan backs off from grand reconciliation due to protests from local chapters.
: Japan’s Ambassador to South Korea Oshima Shotaro urges the resumption of bilateral FTA talks and argues that Seoul should not demand too much in a sensitive area from the start.
: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says that the WTO has set up an arbitration panel to resolve a trade dispute with Japan over punitive tariffs levied on imports of computer memory chips by Hynix Semiconductor Inc.
: FM Aso says Tokyo will seek an immediate meeting of the United National Security Council if North Korea fires the missile and that a consideration of sanctions is “inevitable.”
: FM Aso meets with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer. They agree that Japan and the U.S. should keep in close contact to dissuade Pyongyang from test-firing a Taepodong 2.
: Japan’s Upper House approves bill that would allow for economic sanctions against North Korea.
: Tokyo requests Pyongyang to stop preparations to launch a Taepodong 2 missile through the North Korean embassy in Beijing.
: Seoul and Tokyo conclude two-day EEZ talks with no agreement.
: Japan’s Lower House passes legislation that calls for economic sanctions on North Korea if the North does not cooperate in settling issues regarding the abductions of Japanese citizens.
: DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency reports that Pyongyang offered to allow Kim Young-nam, a South Korean abductee married to Yokota Megumi, to meet his South Korean family at a special reunion scheduled for late June.
: Yokota Shigeru, Megumi’s father, returns to Japan after a three-day visit to South Korea. During this trip, he met relatives of Kim Young-nam and Park Geun-hye, the leader of South Korea’s Grand National Party.
: North Korea criticizes Japan and the U.S. over the meeting between President Bush and the mother of Yokota Megumi, calling it part of the countries’ campaign to “stifle” Pyongyang.
: The leaders of the pro-Seoul group, Mindan and the pro-Pyongyang group, Chongryon of Japan hold their first meeting to resolve longstanding differences.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Aso Taro says that he sees problems in the current method of honoring the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine.
: Parents of Yokota Megumi meet Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon in Tokyo to discuss the suspected abduction by Pyongyang of a Thai woman.
: Finance ministers of Japan, South Korea, China, and ASEAN release a joint statement that they will double the liquidity support for countries within the group facing a foreign exchange crisis and promote research on a single Asian currency.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that additional data-collecting satellites will be launched to watch the Korean Peninsula in July.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that 45 percent of respondents felt that Japan was at risk of being involved in a war and that 63.7 percent referred to the situation on the Korean Peninsula as a great concern for Japan’s peace and security.
: President George Bush meets with Yokota Sakie, mother of Yokota Megumi.
: Shimada Yoichi, vice chairman of the National Association of the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea, testifies before a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. saying that Pyongyang abducted 485 South Koreans since the end of the Korean War.
: Tokyo places former DPRK spy Sin and a suspected accomplice on an international wanted list through Interpol on charges of abducting Japanese national Hara Tadaaki in the 1970s.
: South Korea’s National Intelligence Service Director Kim Seung-gyu testifies in a closed-door meeting with the National Assembly Intelligence Committee that the husband of the Japanese abductee Yokota Megumi, Kim Young-nam and other four high school boys kidnapped in 1977-8, are still alive in North Korea.
: Japan asks North Korea to extradite former agent Sin Guang-su.
: ROK President Roh Moo-hyun makes a televised statement and blames Japan for having imperial territorial ambitions over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Two-day negotiations conclude as Japan suspends its plan to send survey ships toward the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islets area and South Korea agrees to postpone its efforts to rename a sea valley in the area.
: Choson Ilbo reports that the South Korean government plans to launch an agency that will expropriate possessions of Japanese occupation collaborators.
: Samsung Electronics and Sony Corp. signed a deal to invest $234.1 million to expand a joint venture for the production of liquid crystal display panels.
: North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan says that North Korea could use the standoff in the Six-Party Talks to bolster its military “deterrent force” and demands the return of the funds in the Banco Delta Asia as a precondition for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
: Seoul summons the Japanese ambassador to Seoul to question Tokyo’s plan to launch a maritime exploration project near the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islets.
: North Korea rejects Japan’s DNA test conclusion that the husband of Megumi Yokota is a South Korean.
: ROK Vice Unification Minister Shin Un-sang says that Seoul will demand the repatriation of a South Korean man living in North Korea if DNA tests prove he really is Kim Young-nam who was abducted by North Korea in 1978.
: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe Shinzo says that the Japanese government must embark on a high level of cooperation with the South Korean government to resolve the abduction issue.
: Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that DNA tests show that South Korean Kim Young-nam is likely to be the husband of abductee Yokota Megumi.
: Representatives from Japan and North Korea have informal dialogue on the sidelines of the NEACD conference over deadlocked negotiations over the North’s nuclear weapons development program and the abduction issue without any progress.
: Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) is held in Tokyo with delegates also from North Korea in attendance.
: Japan Times reports that a documentary portraying Yokota Megumi, Abduction: the Megumi Yokota Story won the July Prize for the Best Documentary at the 24th annual San Francisco International Asian American Film and the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Omaha Film Festival.
: Japan Trade Minister Nikai Toshihiro says that Tokyo will ask China, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, and ASEAN to consider a regional free trade zone.
: Chosun Ilbo reports that Japanese police conducted a raid on six pro-DPRK Chongryon offices and plans to place Kim Gil-wook who now lives in South Korea on the international wanted list to facilitate investigations on abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea.
: LDP panel agrees to draw up a bill that requires the Japanese government to impose sanctions on North Korea if it fails to make progress in addressing its human rights abuses, including the abduction issues.
: ROK Chong Wa Dae (Blue House) says that President Roh would not hold a summit with PM Koizumi unless Koizumi promises to stop the shrine visits.
: In a meeting with former Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo, Roh says that he wants to visit the Yushukan as a symbolic gesture against the temple.
: FM Aso speaking to the budget committee at the House of Councilors expresses dissatisfaction with South Korea and China for aiding North Korea.
: South Korea refers the case of Hynix Semiconductor Inc. to the WTO to counter Tokyo’s 27.2 percent punitive duty on Hynix DRAM chips in January.
: ROK Grand National Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye meets PM Koizumi and calls for “the right words to be spoken and the right actions to be taken.”
: Kyodo News Agency reports that North Korea launched two short-range surface-to-air missiles near North Korea’s border with China.
: Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Yachi Shotaro and South Korea’s Vice Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yu Myung-hwan resume a sub-Cabinet-level strategic dialogue for the first time since last October in Tokyo.
: Korea Exchange Bank reports its Tokyo and Osaka offices have been subjected to punitive measures by Japan’s supervisory authorities for failing to report their overseas remittances with an unlicensed business suspected of money laundering.
: Japan begins a 90-day visa waiver program for ROK visitors.
: The 87th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement
: South Korea returns 18th century war monument, Bukgwandaecheopbi, to North Korea after being in Japan for a century.
: Japan’s prefectural police in Fukui and Niigata obtain arrest warrants for two suspected DPRK kidnappers, Sin Guang-su and Choe Sung-chol.
: U.S. and Japan forces hold joint command exercise Keen Edge.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe reiterates Japan’s claim to Dokto/Takeshima islets.
: Joongang Ilbo reports that Samsung Economic Research Institute and Japan Research Institute agree to cooperate in terms of joint research, exchanges of personnel, and research data over the next three years.
: ROK TV star Bae Yong-joon and Japan’s Masayoshi Son of Softbank announce they will make a joint investment of $13 million to further the Korean Wave in Asia.
: Chosun Ilbo reports that Korean Railroad Corporation and JR Freight Railway will launch transport service for container freights using railway and sealines. Operations are expected to begin in July.
: KCNA denounces Japan’s Fukuoka High Court ruling that the tax exemption for a hall associated with the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) can be canceled.
: PM Koizumi cautions against imposing sanctions on North Korea.
: Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency reports that trade volume between Japan and the DPRK was $190 million in 2005, the lowest level since 1977.
: Toshiba Corp. and LG Electronics Inc. sign a cross-licensing agreement to share patented optical disc technologies.
: Today Online reports that South Korean banks, the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperation and Korea Exchange Bank terminated all transactions with Macau Banco Delta in early February.
: Asian Development Bank President Kuroda Haruhiko announces that the ADB plans to introduce a notional unit of exchange called the Asian Currency Unit (ACU) as a yardstick to monitor moves in the currency values.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe says the government plans to urge municipalities to reconsider providing tax breaks for the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) facilities.
: DPRK-Japan bilateral talks resume under a new three track format.
: Mainichi Shimbun reports that Japan’s largest banks have voluntarily ceased all transactions with Banco Delta Asia, the Macau-based bank the U.S. has fingered as North Korea’s main money-laundering channel.
: FM Aso backpedals from his call for the emperor to visit Yasukuni Shrine, saying that he does not mean the monarch should visit under the current climate.
: Japan continues to suspend aid to North Korea, despite an agreement to resume bilateral talks.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Aso Taro says the emperor should visit Yasukuni Shrine.
: Japan’s Fisheries Agency says that Japan will expand its import quota on South Korean pressed seaweed to 1.2 billion sheets by 2015. In return, South Korea will withdraw a complaint it has filed with the WTO in December 2004.
: PM Koizumi defends his visits to Yasukuni by saying that South Korea and China are the only countries that denounce the visits. President Roh says he will keep pressuring Tokyo to face up to its wartime behavior.
: Sankei Shimbun reports that recent surface-to-air missile data was leaked to a pro-Pyongyang group in Japan.
: Japan and South Korea sign a bilateral pact to facilitate cooperation on criminal investigations.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that ROK FM Ban in a meeting with a group of journalists says that if the next prime minister continues to visit Yasukuni, the leaders of Japan and South Korea would not meet.
: The Japan Times reports that Japan plans to send two more spy satellites into orbit by March 31, 2007 to strengthen monitoring capabilities of North Korea’s missile and nuclear development facilities.
: The Korean Central News Agency of DPRK (KCNA) quotes Rodong Shinmun that Japan aims to “mount a preemptive armed attack on the DPRK,” denouncing Japan’s joint missile development system with the U.S.
: Japan’s Senior Vice Foreign Minister Shiozaki Yasuhisa says that he has assured senior U.S. officials that Japan will not normalize ties with North Korea unless the abduction, missile development, nuclear and other issues are comprehensively resolved.
: PM Koizumi reiterates his position that Yasukuni Shrine visits are “a matter of heart” and criticizes South Korea and China for forgoing bilateral talks during his New Year’s news conference. South Korea’s Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon responds by urging Japan to heed complaints from neighboring countries.
: North Korea criticizes Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe Shinzo for claiming that resolution of the North’s abductions is a precondition for normalizing diplomatic relations.
: Japan and North Korea hold bilateral negotiations and agree to resume normalization talks as early as late January.
: The Japan Times reports that abductees’ families from Thailand, Lebanon, South Korea, and Japan vow to seek joint efforts for the return of their relatives from North Korea.
: Korean Central News Agency says that Pyongyang plans to start developing light-water reactors for nuclear energy. Japan responds a day later that it would be “suicidal.”
: ROK FM Ban urges for “a correct perception of history and to implement it” in response to Aso’s remarks a day earlier.
: FM Aso says that Japan is prepared to deal with issues from the past and work toward improving relations with South Korea in a statement marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation Kitagawa Kazuo said that Japanese government has decided to permanently waive visa requirements for South Korean tourists.
: UN General Assembly adopts a resolution criticizing North Korea’s human rights issues, including the abduction of foreigners to North Korea. The resolution is passed by a vote of 88 to 21 with 61 abstentions. Japan cosponsored the resolution while South Korea abstained.
: South Korean President Roh and Chinese Premier Wen agree in bilateral talks on the sidelines of ASEAN that it is up to PM Koizumi to mend ties with the two countries.
: During the ASEAN Plus Three/East Asia Summit meetings in Kuala Lumpur, a separate “Plus Thee” summit among China, Japan, and South Korea does not take place, as China cancels the summit with Japan in reference to “the current atmosphere.”
: Samsung SDI files a suit against Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. for alleged violation of its plasma display panel patents.
: Japan names Saiga Fumiko, ambassador to Norway, as a special envoy on North Korea’s human rights.
: Mainichi Shimbun reports that ultranationalist sentiments gain popularity inside Japan as regional tensions rise. The newspaper cites Yamano Sharin’s comic “Hate Korea: a Comic,” which went through five printings and sold 320,000 copies since its release in September.
: PM Koizumi says he does not understand why Japanese people as well as South Korea and China criticize his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, while emphasizing the importance of relationships with Seoul and Beijing on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the LDP.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe says Japan supports a KEDO proposal to demand North Korea return money disbursed to finance a light-water reactor project.
: Japan, the U.S., South Korea, and the EU agree to end the $4.6 billion KEDO project intended to provide two light-water nuclear reactors to North Korea.
: Former Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro warns the LDP of populism and urges LDP lawmakers not to visit Yasukuni Shrine.
: President Roh and Prime Minister Koizumi meet on the sidelines of APEC Summit for 20 minutes.
: FM Ban and China’s FM Li condemn PM Koizumi’s visits to the Yasukuni Shrine at their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the APEC Summit.
: FM Ban and FM Aso meet on the sidelines of the APEC summit.
: Former vice president of the LDP says that there is a 50-50 possibility that PM Koizumi will visit North Korea before he leaves office next September.
: South Korean lawmakers urge Japanese counterparts to show a more sincere attitude over history issues at the 31st meeting of the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians Union.
: Joongang Ilbo quotes Sankei Shimbun that an annual soccer match between Japanese and South Korean lawmakers held since 1998 has been canceled as South Korean lawmakers said they would not play against any Diet members who had visited Yasukuni Shrine.
: Kanzaki Takenori, the leader of New Komeito, calls on the foreign minister and chief Cabinet secretary as well as the prime minister to refrain from visiting Yasukuni Shrine in consideration of Japan’s ties with its Asian neighbors.
: Japan and North Korea end two-day bilateral negotiations, the first in 11 months, in Beijing. No agreement is reached, but both parties decide to continue talks to establish a framework for future discussions.
: Mainichi Shimbun reports that an opinion poll conducted after PM Koizumi’s Oct. 17 Yasukuni Shrine visit shows that the percentage of supporters was four points higher than opponents. Regarding a proposal to construct a non-religious national facility to enshrine Japan’s war dead, 66 percent were in support, while only 29 percent opposed.
: North Korea says it is ready to make a proposal that could help resolve the abduction issue.
: Japan Times reports that Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe has softened his stance on the possibility of economic sanctions against North Korea.
: Newly appointed Foreign Minister Aso and South Korean counterpart Ban hold telephone conversation and agree to mend strained bilateral relations.
: PM Koizumi names Abe Shinzo as chief Cabinet secretary and Aso Taro as foreign minister.
: Japan’s LDP announces constitutional revision bill.
: South Korea’s Foreign Minister Ban departs for Japan to meet FM Machimura for a three-day visit.
: A civil group, the Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea, says it will broadcast a shortwave radio program called “Shiokaze” (sea breeze) to any Japanese in North Korea.
: Chosun Ilbo reports that members of Japan’s ruling coalition and the main opposition party are seeking ways to secure government funding to establish a secular war memorial in an effort to mend strained ties between Tokyo and its Asian neighbors.
: Bukgwandaecheopbi returns to Korea from Japan. The monument, set up to commemorate the victory over Japanese invaders in 1592, was stolen by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Russo-Japanese war.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Machimura Nobutaka says he hopes President Roh visits Tokyo as scheduled.
: PM Koizumi makes fifth visit to Yasukuni Shine. South Korean presidential spokesman says Seoul will postpone the December Roh-Koizumi summit.
: Song Il-ho, vice director of North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department, says that the DPRK welcomes PM Koizumi to Pyongyang to discuss the fate of Yokota Megumi’s remains.
: Joongang Ilbo reports Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency survey shows that nearly 80 percent of Japanese have a favorable view of South Korea.
: The six parties adopt a joint statement.
: Japan and North Korea agree to continue bilateral talks to normalize relations.
: Japan and North Korea hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Six-Party Talks.
: North Korea demands that PM Koizumi and other Japanese politicians stop visiting Yasukuni Shine.
: The Six-Party Talks resume after a five-week recess.
: Mainichi poll shows that 402 of 480 lawmakers in the new Lower House support reform of the Japanese Constitution.
: The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) appoints the South Korean Committee of the Korea-China-Japan Business Forum.
: South Korean government releases 156 diplomatic documents that detail the 14 years of Japan-South Korea normalization talks. It includes diplomatic documents that cover the status of the Tokdo/Takeshima islets.
: South Korean government decides to bring the issue of comfort women compensation before the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
: Academics from Korea, China, and Japan call for Asian countries to form a cooperative body like the European Union and adopt a common East Asian currency.
: PM Koizumi does not visit Yasukuni Shrine; he expresses Japan’s remorse and apology for actions committed during World War II in his statement to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the war.
: Chosun Ilbo reports a survey of 618 Japanese student and 521 Korean students by the culture and history team of the high school teachers’ association of Kumamoto shows that Korean students’ dislike of Japan is not shared by Japanese students.
: Suginami Ward board of education adopts Fusosha’s history textbooks.
: North Korea and Japan hold first bilateral talks in more than eight months.
: South Korea lodges a formal diplomatic protest with Japan over references in Japan’s Defense White Paper to the Tokdo/Takeshima islets controlled by South Korea but claimed by Japan.
: Japan’s Cabinet approves a new Defense White Paper, “Defense of Japan 2005” that emphasizes Self-Defense Forces’ ability to better deal with new threats such as missile attacks or guerrilla warfare.
: Japan Times reports that Tokyo informed Seoul of its plan to survey the waters near the Dokdo/Takeshima islets and that this was rejected by Seoul.
: Donga Ilbo reports that Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party Basic Committee confirms a draft of the new constitution will be revealed in November.
: China presents a draft statement at the Six-Party Talks, which does not include provisions about human rights or missile development. Japan is said to be dissatisfied.
: Former North Korean secret agent An Myong-Jin testifies at a Japanese Diet panel that 15 abducted Japanese were alive in North Korea between 1988 and 1991.
: Tokyo Metropolitan board of education adopts two contentious social studies textbooks.
: Six-Party Talks resume.
: Japan’s chief negotiator Sasae Kenichiro brings up the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in opening remarks at a plenary session of the Six-Party Talks.
: The New York Times reports that Sony and Samsung formed a cooperative relationship to produce innovative technology.
: Associated Press reports that Japan’s Diet approved legislation authorizing the Defense Agency head to order the shooting of missiles without permission from the prime minister or the Diet.
: ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-young says the Six-Party Talks should solely focus on the North’s nuclear development program; other issues like the abduction issue should not be on the agenda.
: Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro reconfirms his intention to normalize relations with North Korea during his tenure.
: Japan’s Chief of Staff of Ground Self-Defense Forces Mori Tsutomo arrives in Seoul at the invitation of South Korea’s Army Chief of Staff, Kim Jang-soo for a four-day visit to discuss ways to boost bilateral military exchanges.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that South Korea and Japan are to sign a bilateral treaty for judicial cooperation in August.
: The chief negotiators of South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. meet in Seoul to coordinate strategies for the Six-Party Talks.
: Relatives of abductees meet with FM Machimura to urge Japan to raise the abduction issue during the Six-Party Talks; they ask the Japanese government to demand North Korea extradite a confessed kidnapper, Shin Gwang-Su.
: The board of education of Otawara, Tochigi Prefecture adopts two social studies textbooks published by Fusosha; the South Korean government issues a statement expressing “deep regret” and “disappointment” over the board’s decision.
: South Korean Navy’s latest landing vessel “Tokdo” is launched. A protest from Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda Hiroyuki follows.
: South Korea’s largest steel maker POSCO decides to list its global stocks on the Tokyo Stock Exchange at the end of this year.
: Voice of America reports that Japan’s Foreign Minister Machimura Nobutaka says Japan will use the Six-Party Talks to raise issues besides the nuclear development program including the abduction issue.
: Korean Central News Agency reports that North Korea agrees to return to the Six-Party Talks in the week of July 25.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that 52 percent of respondents say that Koizumi should stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, while 36 percent say he should continue.
: Families and supporters of North Korean abductees have a sit-in near Koizumi’s office demanding economic sanctions against North Korea. Koizumi said that Japan cannot impose sanctions without considering the views of other countries in the Six-Party Talks.
: Koizumi and Roh hold summit talks in Seoul.
: A full-scale report of Japan-ROK Joint History Research, a three-year project launched at a summit between PM Koizumi and President Kim Dae-jung in October 2001, is released, showing a huge gap in perceptions on key historical events.
: Japan and North Korea play World Cup qualifying soccer match in Bangkok. Japan wins 2-0. No fans are allowed to watch the game in Supachalasi Stadium.
: Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Kitagawa Kazuo and South Korean Culture and Tourism Minister Chung Dong-chea agree to expand personnel exchanges in tourism and culture.
: Japanese and Korean governments agree to end a 33-hour standoff over a South Korean fishing boat, the Sinpung, suspected of illegal activities in Japan’s EEZ.
: South Korea and Japan sign bilateral agreement on currency swaps worth $3 billion.
: Blue House protests Japanese Vice FM Yachi Shotaro’s remark that Japan is reluctant to share intelligence with South Korea because of U.S. mistrust of the Seoul government.
: General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun), a pro-Pyongyang group, commemorates the 50th anniversary of its establishment.
: FM Machimura says Tokyo is studying proposals to resume the six-party process without Pyongyang.
: Newly insured North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92 re-enters northern Japan port of Niigata.
: Chairman of Japan’s LDP, Takebe Tsutomu, and New Kemeito Secretary General Fuyushiba Tetsuzovisit President Roh and deliver a personal letter from Koizumi.
: Korea International Trade Association releases statistics that the “Korean Wave” created $1.87 billion in added value and raising ROK GDP by 0.2 percent in 2004.
: FM Machimura and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice agree to take the issue of North Korea’s nuclear program to the UN Security Council if North Korea continues to refuse to resume the Six-Party Talks.
: ROK President Roh says Japan and Korea share the same destiny in a congratulatory message on the occasion of the Mindan Shimbun’s 2,500th edition, a Korean-Japanese newspaper.
: Jiji Press reports Japan’s National Policy Agency has added another name, Tanaka Minoru, to the list of Japanese abducted by the DPRK, which brings the total to 13 confirmed and 10 suspected.
: Korea Central News Agency reports the DPRK will view UN sanctions as a “declaration of war.”
: FM Machimura says the Japanese government, after reviewing history textbooks of South Korea and China, will request revision of their textbooks.
: Some 6,000 Japanese rally for sanctions against the DPRK over the abduction issue.
: Japanese PM Koizumi apologizes for Japan’s wartime activities in his keynote speech at the Asia-Africa Summit in Jakarta.
: 80 Japanese lawmakers visit Yasukuni Shrine.
: Mainichi Shimbun poll shows that 76 percent of 1,019 respondents believe that PM Koizumi is not doing enough to improve strained relations with Asian neighbors; 45 percent say that he should not visit Yasukuni Shrine.
: 250 businessmen from South Korea and Japan at the 37th Korea-Japan Business Conference issue a joint statement urging a future-oriented perspective on history issues and pledge to support the Japan-Korea free trade agreement this year.
: Delegation of South Korean congressmen visit FM Machimura to protest the Tokdo/Takeshima islets and the history textbooks.
: Finance Ministers Tanigaki Sadakazu and Han Duck-soo, on the sidelines of the Inter-American Development Bank’s annual meeting, agree to step up efforts to complete a free trade agreement by the end of the year.
: Foreign Ministers Machimura Nobukata of Japan and Ban Ki-moon of South Korea hold a meeting on the sidelines of Asian Cooperation Dialogue forum for the first time since the dispute over the Tokdo/Takeshima islets.
: Seoul makes formal protest to Tokyo over the claim to the Tokdo/Takeshima islets in the newly approved textbooks and demands its deletion.
: Japanese civic organizations like Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21 announce they will conduct a campaign against adoption of controversial textbooks.
: Japan’s Education Ministry approves controversial history textbooks that describe the Tokdo/Takeshima islets as “illegally occupied by Korea.”
: Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and LG Electronics Inc. agree to withdraw legal action against each other over alleged infringements on plasma display patents and to sign cross-licensing agreements on PCs and DVDs.
: South Korean ambassador to the UN Kim Sam-hoon announces that Seoul has decided to oppose Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council.
: Shimane Prefectural Assembly passes bill designating Feb. 22 as Takeshima Day.
: Choson Ilbo reports that Tokyo’s claim that Yokota’s remains were not authentic were premature.
: Light civilian Japanese aircraft attempts to fly over the Tokdo/Takeshima islets without South Korean permission. South Korean jet fighters are sent to intercept the plane.
: Ban on foreign vessels without proper insurance from Japanese ports goes into effect. It is considered a de facto sanction against the DPRK as about only 2.5 percent of its vessels are insured.
: President Roh demands the Japanese government offer apologies and adequate compensation to victims of Japanese brutality during the colonial period on the Korean Peninsula.
: Japan’s Ambassador to South Korea Takano Toshiyuki states to foreign correspondents in Seoul that Takashima (Tokdo) is part of Japanese territory historically and under international law.
: Japan’s Foreign Ministry announces plans to set up a provisional consulate in the DPRK to accommodate hundreds of Japanese supporters expected to attend the World Cup qualifier June 8.
: DPRK declares itself a “de facto” nuclear power with a statement it has “manufactured nuclear weapons.”
: LDP drafts human rights legislation aimed at protecting the rights of North Korean defectors to pressure North Korea to resolve the abduction issue.
: Publication of a middle school history textbook to be written by a committee of scholars, teachers, and experts from China, Japan, and South Korea is announced. The project is tentatively titled, Modern History of East Asia.
: South Korea-Japan Friendship Year is officially kicked off at National Yoyogi Stadium in Japan to mark the 40th anniversary of normalization between the two nations. The opening ceremony for South Korea will be held Jan. 27.
: AP reports private Japanese fund, from which donations were used to compensate “comfort women” or women and girls pressed into wartime prostitution for Japanese soliders during WWII, will be dissolved March 31, 2007.
: Joongang Ilbo reports free-trade talks between Japan and South Korea are bogged down over agriculture quotas on seaweed and concerns of a South Korean trade deficit with Japan.
: Chosun Ilbo reports poll taken by Japan’s Fuji TV and South Korea’s Munhwa Broadcasting Station shows that 56.1 percent of Japanese see Koreans as allies, while only 29.2 percent of South Koreans view Japanese as allies.
: PM Koizumi says no deadline will be set for normalizing relations with North Korea. Furthering the relations between the two nations will be contingent upon North Korean fulfilling the Pyongyang Declaration.
: Kyodo News reports that at the summit between Roh and Koizumi, Roh urges cautious on sanctions, and both agree to study history issues
: ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban urges Japan to carefully consider the possible negative effect of economic sanctions against DPRK.
: ROK and Japan sign customs pact to cooperate against drugs and arms trafficking.
: Samsung and Sony sign cross-licensing agreement to share patents.
: Japanese Cabinet approves new defense guidelines, naming DPRK and China as security concerns.
: Japanese Diet adopts resolution recommending Japan consider imposing economic sanctions on North Korea for failing to provide false information on abductees.
: Chosun Ilbo reports that Japanese government has suspended aid to DPRK.
: DNA testing shows that remains given to Japan by the DPRK are not those of a kidnapped Japanese national.
: Asahi Shimbun reports that 79 ROK lawmakers submitted a resolution to Parliament requesting that PM Koizumi suspend his visits to Yasukuni Shrine.
: Kyodo News reports that PM Koizumi stressed the importance of normalizing diplomatic ties between Japan and the DPRK despite the abduction issue.
: Chief Cabinet Secretary Hosoda apologizes to former Korean sex slaves for Japan’s sexual violence against them during World War II.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that South Korean visitors may enter Japan without visas starting 2005.
: Japan’s supreme court dismisses suit by South Korean war victims.
: Abe Shinzo, acting secretary general of Japan’s LDP, says that Japan should consider the possibility that a regime change in DPRK will occur.
: Korea Times reports that the Japanese government promised to support the ROK at the IAEA with regard to ROK past nuclear experiments.
: Agence France-Presse reports that PM Koizumi intends to continue humanitarian food aid to the DPRK despite the debate over the abduction issue.
: PM Koizumi expresses “dissatisfaction” over the results of the delegation to DPRK that has investigated the fate of the abductees.
: ROK President Roh and Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki-Moon and Japanese FM Machimura agree to work on resuming the Six-Party Talks.
: Kyodo News reports that Japan and DPRK will hold the third round of working-level talks over the abduction issue Nov. 9-12.
: ROK ruling Uri Party chairman Lee urges PM Koizumi to expedite negotiations to normalize relations with DPRK. Lee, meeting with DPJ President Okada Katsuya, cautions Japan about economic sanctions against DPRK.
: ROK ruling Uri Party chairman Lee Bu-Young arrives in Japan on a four-day visit to discuss the stalled Six-Party Talks and a free trade agreement between Japan and ROK.
: Japan hosts PSI naval interdiction drill with ships and nearly 900 troops from the U.S., France, and Australia and observers from 18 other countries.
: Yonhap reports that DPRK Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station accused Japan for taking part in the U.S.-led PSI interdiction exercise as “violating the spirit of the bilateral declaration.”
: Japanese FM Machimura Nobutaka welcomes the North Korean Human Rights Act in relations to the abduction issue of Japanese and ROK citizens. ROK Unification Minister Chung Dong-Young reaffirmed its government’s “silent diplomacy” toward human rights issues in the DPRK.