Japan - Korea
Chronology from Jan 2002 to Mar 2002
: Japanese officials state that Japan, South Korea, and the European Union will jointly urge the U.S. to drop its tariffs on steel imports at a WTO dispute-settlement meeting set for April 11 in Geneva.
: President Kim and PM Koizumi meet in Seoul. They vow to begin a new era of friendship as the co-hosts of the World Cup and agree to launch a joint study on the establishment of a free trade area between the two nations.
: A spokesman for the Central Committee of the Red Cross Society of the DPRK indicates willingness to hold talks with the Japan Red Cross Society over the issue of “missing persons” allegedly abducted by North Korea.
: President Kim calls for a “future-oriented” relationship between South Korea and Japan, rather than one that is “chained to the past history.”
: Newspapers report that North Korean and Japanese officials meet in Beijing over the issue of Japanese nationals allegedly abducted by North Korea.
: Yao Megumi, the former wife of a Red Army member who hijacked a Japan Airlines flight in 1970, testifies in a Tokyo court that she helped to lure a young Japanese woman, Arimoto Keiko, from Europe to North Korea in 1983. Yao states that a North Korean diplomat was involved in the abduction.
: The Japanese government notifies South Korea that it would not provide humanitarian aid, including food, to the DPRK until relations with the North improve.
: PM Koizumi promises a thorough investigation into the disappearance of Arimoto Keiko, a Japanese female university student suspected of being kidnapped by North Korean agents.
: ROK Grand National Party (GNP) leader Lee Hoi-chang makes a four-day trip to Japan.
: FM Choi and FM Kawaguchi hold talks in Tokyo; they agree a more aggressive effort is needed to restart dialogue with North Korea.
: Japan and South Korea announce the establishment of a “Korea-Japan Joint History Research Group,” a joint history forum composed of 10 civilian experts from the two nations.
: President Kim refrains from criticizing Japan in his March 1 Independent Movement speech.
: Japan and South Korea agree to relax immigration procedures for each other’s nationals during the World Cup soccer tournament.
: Pyongyang abruptly releases Japanese journalist Sugishima Takashi, who had been accused of spying and held for over two years.
: Japanese FM Kawaguchi Yoriko holds phone talks with her South Korean counterpart, Choi Sung-hong.
: Defectors from North Korea state that food aid to the country was being stored for military use rather than distributed to the people.
: Japan and South Korea resume annual security talks in Tokyo and discuss North Korea policy and peacekeeping in East Timor.
: Civic groups in South Korea and Japan announce the launch of a joint organization, the “History Education Asia Network,” to correct and prevent historical distortions in Japanese textbooks.
: Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG) meets in Seoul.
: The Tokyo Shimbun reports that diplomats from Japan and North Korea met secretly in China on Jan. 12-14 after the sinking of an unidentified ship in the East China Sea in December 2001.
: South Korea and Japan sign a tentative agreement on criminal extradition following nearly two years of negotiations.
: Japan and the ROK officially launch the “year of people’s exchange,” aimed at promoting friendship between the two countries and successfully hosting the World Cup.
: ROK Foreign Minister Han Seung-soo begins a four-day trip to Japan to hold talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Tanaka Makiko and participate in an international conference on rebuilding Afghanistan.
: ROK officials state that South Korea and Japan will resume military exchanges and joint exercises that were suspended last year.
: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo signals the possibility of seeking U.S. support in lifting the unidentified ship that sank in the East China Sea in December.
: Japanese Transport Minister Ogi Chikage states that debris recovered from an unidentified ship that sank in the East China Sea in December 2001 links the ship to North Korea.
: Japanese authorities board a North Korean cargo ship docked near Tokyo after a tip that several suspicious people had slipped ashore.
: PM Koizumi vows to guard Japan against foreign threats after the sinking of a suspected North Korean spy ship in the East China Sea in December 2001.