Japan - Korea

Chronology from Jan 2014 to May 2014

: 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.

: 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.

Date Range