Japan - Korea

Chronology from Jan 2020 to May 2020

: 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South Korea, Australia, India, and Russia to G-7 meeting on the ground that the current makeup of G7 nations is “a very outdated group of countries.”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.

: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs responds by saying, “We strongly protest the Japanese government’s reiteration of its unjustified territorial claims regarding Dokdo.”

: 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 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.

Date Range