Japan - Korea

Chronology from Apr 2006 to Jul 2006

: Asahi Shimbun reports that business leaders prefer Fukuda Yasuo as the next prime minister in consideration of his views that take Japan’s relations with other Asian neighbors seriously.

: The pro-Seoul group Mindan backs off from grand reconciliation due to protests from local chapters.

: Japan’s Ambassador to South Korea Oshima Shotaro urges the resumption of bilateral FTA talks and argues that Seoul should not demand too much in a sensitive area from the start.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says that the WTO has set up an arbitration panel to resolve a trade dispute with Japan over punitive tariffs levied on imports of computer memory chips by Hynix Semiconductor Inc.

: FM Aso says Tokyo will seek an immediate meeting of the United National Security Council if North Korea fires the missile and that a consideration of sanctions is “inevitable.”

: FM Aso meets with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer. They agree that Japan and the U.S. should keep in close contact to dissuade Pyongyang from test-firing a Taepodong 2.

: Japan’s Upper House approves bill that would allow for economic sanctions against North Korea.

: Tokyo requests Pyongyang to stop preparations to launch a Taepodong 2 missile through the North Korean embassy in Beijing.

: Seoul and Tokyo conclude two-day EEZ talks with no agreement.

: Japan’s Lower House passes legislation that calls for economic sanctions on North Korea if the North does not cooperate in settling issues regarding the abductions of Japanese citizens.

: DPRK’s Korean Central News Agency reports that Pyongyang offered to allow Kim Young-nam, a South Korean abductee married to Yokota Megumi, to meet his South Korean family at a special reunion scheduled for late June.

: Yokota Shigeru, Megumi’s father, returns to Japan after a three-day visit to South Korea. During this trip, he met relatives of Kim Young-nam and Park Geun-hye, the leader of South Korea’s Grand National Party.

: North Korea criticizes Japan and the U.S. over the meeting between President Bush and the mother of Yokota Megumi, calling it part of the countries’ campaign to “stifle” Pyongyang.

: The leaders of the pro-Seoul group, Mindan and the pro-Pyongyang group, Chongryon of Japan hold their first meeting to resolve longstanding differences.

: Japan’s Foreign Minister Aso Taro says that he sees problems in the current method of honoring the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine.

: Parents of Yokota Megumi meet Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon in Tokyo to discuss the suspected abduction by Pyongyang of a Thai woman.

: Finance ministers of Japan, South Korea, China, and ASEAN release a joint statement that they will double the liquidity support for countries within the group facing a foreign exchange crisis and promote research on a single Asian currency.

: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that additional data-collecting satellites will be launched to watch the Korean Peninsula in July.

: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that 45 percent of respondents felt that Japan was at risk of being involved in a war and that 63.7 percent referred to the situation on the Korean Peninsula as a great concern for Japan’s peace and security.

: President George Bush meets with Yokota Sakie, mother of Yokota Megumi.

: Shimada Yoichi, vice chairman of the National Association of the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea, testifies before a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. saying that Pyongyang abducted 485 South Koreans since the end of the Korean War.

: Tokyo places former DPRK spy Sin and a suspected accomplice on an international wanted list through Interpol on charges of abducting Japanese national Hara Tadaaki in the 1970s.

: South Korea’s National Intelligence Service Director Kim Seung-gyu testifies in a closed-door meeting with the National Assembly Intelligence Committee that the husband of the Japanese abductee Yokota Megumi, Kim Young-nam and other four high school boys kidnapped in 1977-8, are still alive in North Korea.

: Japan asks North Korea to extradite former agent Sin Guang-su.

: ROK President Roh Moo-hyun makes a televised statement and blames Japan for having imperial territorial ambitions over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.

: Two-day negotiations conclude as Japan suspends its plan to send survey ships toward the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islets area and South Korea agrees to postpone its efforts to rename a sea valley in the area.

: Choson Ilbo reports that the South Korean government plans to launch an agency that will expropriate possessions of Japanese occupation collaborators.

: Samsung Electronics and Sony Corp. signed a deal to invest $234.1 million to expand a joint venture for the production of liquid crystal display panels.

: North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan says that North Korea could use the standoff in the Six-Party Talks to bolster its military “deterrent force” and demands the return of the funds in the Banco Delta Asia as a precondition for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

: Seoul summons the Japanese ambassador to Seoul to question Tokyo’s plan to launch a maritime exploration project near the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islets.

: North Korea rejects Japan’s DNA test conclusion that the husband of Megumi Yokota is a South Korean.

: ROK Vice Unification Minister Shin Un-sang says that Seoul will demand the repatriation of a South Korean man living in North Korea if DNA tests prove he really is Kim Young-nam who was abducted by North Korea in 1978.

: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe Shinzo says that the Japanese government must embark on a high level of cooperation with the South Korean government to resolve the abduction issue.

: Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that DNA tests show that South Korean Kim Young-nam is likely to be the husband of abductee Yokota Megumi.

: Representatives from Japan and North Korea have informal dialogue on the sidelines of the NEACD conference over deadlocked negotiations over the North’s nuclear weapons development program and the abduction issue without any progress.

: Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) is held in Tokyo with delegates also from North Korea in attendance.

: Japan Times reports that a documentary portraying Yokota Megumi, Abduction: the Megumi Yokota Story won the July Prize for the Best Documentary at the 24th annual San Francisco International Asian American Film and the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Omaha Film Festival.

: Japan Trade Minister Nikai Toshihiro says that Tokyo will ask China, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, and ASEAN to consider a regional free trade zone.

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