Japan - Korea
Chronology from Jan 2017 to May 2017
: 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.