Japan - Korea

Chronology from Jan 2011 to May 2011

: Japanese parliamentary panel endorses a treaty to transfer to South Korea historical documents that were brought to Japan during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, paving the way for its ratification by the Diet.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.

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