Japan - Korea

Chronology from Apr 2008 to Jul 2008

: FM Komura says that Tokyo plans to urge Washington to keep the North on the terrorist-sponsor list.

: Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura tells the Diet that Japan will keep urging the U.S. not to remove Pyongyang from the terrorist-sponsor list.

: Negotiators from Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. meet to discuss ways to proceed with the Six-Party Talks.

: ROK FM Yu Myung-hwan, a former ambassador to Japan, says a stronger alliance with the U.S. will help improve relations with Japan and China.

: South Korea urges Japan to provide North Korea with economic and energy aid to further progress in the Six-Party Talks.

: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice restates U.S. willingness to remove Pyongyang from the terrorist-sponsor list if it submits a full declaration of its nuclear activities.

: Foreign ministers of Japan, South Korea, and China hold a meeting and agree that they will cooperate on North Korean issues. Tokyo reiterates that it will not endorse a possible move by the U.S. to remove Pyongyang from the state sponsors of terrorism list.

: FM Komura comments on the Tokyo-Pyongyang bilateral talks and says that Japan will make a small step as the North makes a small step. Japan decides to lift some sanctions in exchange for Pyongyang’s promise to reinvestigate the abduction issue.

: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japanese-made vacuum pumps were used for Pyongyang’s uranium enrichment, which was discovered during an inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year.

: Japan and North Korea hold bilateral talks in Beijing.

: Official Central News Agency of DPRK issues a statement that it opposes all forms of terrorism.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials say that the normalization of diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang is “crucial” for the Six- Party Talks.

: LDP defense policy panel proposes that Japan should acquire a capability to strike its adversary’s missile sites under the new National Defense Program Guidelines.

: Okinawa holds local elections. Ruling Liberal Democratic Party loses control of Okinawa Assembly.

: Japan and North Korea hold an unofficial preparatory meeting and agree to meet for official bilateral talks on June 11-12.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy announces the South Korean economy posted its first monthly trade surplus in six months.

: Code-sharing agreement between Japan’s All Nippon Airways and South Korea’s Asiana takes effect.

: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura Nobunaka says that Japan has no intention of politicizing the Dokdo/Takeshima issue.

: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japan’s Education Ministry plans to describe the Dokdo/Takeshima Islets as “Japanese territory” in its revised curriculum handbook.

: Kyodo News quotes Japanese government sources that North Korea suggested to a Japanese official in early 2004 that there were abductees other than the 15 officially admitted by Pyongyang at that time.

: Asahi Shimbun reports that the support rate for PM Fukuda continues to plunge, reaching 20 percent in its latest survey. It is down from 25 percent in the previous survey conducted on April 19 and 20.

: Associated Press reports that South Korea has approved financial assistance to victims of abduction by Pyongyang. A Unification Ministry statement says that the South Korean government approved a total of $1.1 million in compensation to 31 families of abductees.

: Finance ministers from Japan, South Korea, and China meet in Madrid and agree to closely cooperate to cope with financial market turbulence.

: South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense announces that Seoul and Tokyo are working on a comprehensive military cooperation agreement, marking the first codified bilateral military cooperation since the end of Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

: Chosun Ilbo reports that 90 percent of South Koreans believe bilateral issues between Japan and South Korea remain unsettled; according to TV network TBS, 44 percent of Japanese share the view.

:   President Lee Myung-bak and Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo hold a summit in Tokyo and agree to pursue a more mature bilateral partnership.

: Some 600 Korean residents and other foreign nationalities gather in Tokyo to demand voting rights in local elections in Japan.

: Japan’s Cabinet confirms that economic sanctions against Pyongyang will be renewed for another six months. The second round of sanctions expires on April 13.

: Parliamentary elections are held in South Korea. President Lee’s GNP (Grand National Party) holds 153 seats of the 299 seats (from 128 seats), while the opposition liberal UDP (United Democratic Party) plunges from 141 to 81.

: Japan Foreign Minister Komura Masahiko and South Korea Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan agree that Tokyo and Seoul will work closely to peacefully resolve North Korean nuclear issue and the abduction of Japanese citizens by Pyongyang as Yu makes a four-day visit to Japan to discuss better ties with Japan.

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