Japan - Korea
Chronology from May 2013 to Aug 2013
: United Nations Commission tasked with investigating North Korean human rights abuses visits Japan to hold hearings on Pyongyang’s past abductions of Japanese nationals.
: Seoul strongly condemns the visits of Japanese Cabinet members to Yasukuni Shrine and their homage to the war dead in commemoration of the 68th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in World War II.
: Korea Herald reports 12 former comfort women (sex slaves) have filed for mediation with the Seoul Central District Court, asking for compensation from the Tokyo government for its enslavement of women during World War II.
: Mainichi Shimbun quotes Prime Minister Abe’s remarks describing his intent to amend Japan’s constitution as his “historic mission.”
: South Korean and Japanese air forces participate jointly in a two-week Red Flag Alaska training exercise, the first such joint participation in the drill by the two countries.
: South Korea denounces Japan’s latest moves to authorize the use of its wartime national flag (the Rising Sun).
: South Korean National Assembly announces the budget allocated to finance archival and legal efforts to reaffirm Korea’s claim to sovereignty over Dokdo will decrease from 4.24 billion won in 2013 to 3.47 billion won ($3.1 million) in 2014.
: South Korea lodges a formal protest with Japan over Tokyo’s first opinion poll regarding Dokdo/Takeshima. The survey reportedly claimed that six out of 10 Japanese respondents considered the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima to be Japanese territory.
: Japan Times covers the story of Oh Seon-hwa, an ethnic Korean professor at Takushoku University in Japan, who was reportedly denied entry into Korea and sent back to Japan on July 27, based on Article 76 of the Korean immigration law that prevents entry of persons that may prove harmful to the country.
: Korea Football Association (KFA) issues a statement claiming that the Japanese spectators’ waving of the “rising sun” flag had first incited South Korean fans at the East Asia Cup match in Seoul.
: South Korea’s Busan High Court orders Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., to pay 80 million won ($70,000) each to the families of five deceased South Koreans who were conscripted into labor during Japan’s colonial rule.
: A bronze statue to honor “comfort women” (sex slaves) is unveiled at a park in Glendale, California, prompting the Tokyo government to express its displeasure.
: Second round of trilateral talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China, Japan, and South Korea takes place in Shanghai.
: Korean spectators unveil a banner reading “A nation that forgets its history has no future” during the East Asian cup soccer match in Seoul between Japan and Korea.
: Japan’s Kyodo News reports that Seoul did not invite Tokyo to its 60th Korean War armistice anniversary ceremony in Seoul.
: Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates Tim Hugo announces he will introduce legislation in next year’s session that will require all future textbooks approved by the Virginia Board of Education to use both East Sea and Sea of Japan to refer to the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
: An opening ceremony is held for the new building for the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.
: Foreign Minister Kishida meets South Korea’s First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Kim Kyou-hyun.
: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) blasts Japan for violations against human rights, citing remarks by Mayor Hashimoto about the necessity of comfort women (sex slaves).
: South Korea’s First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Kim Kyou-hyun meets Japan’s incoming Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki Akitaka to exchange views on bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
: Seoul High Court orders Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to pay 100 million won each ($88,000) as reparation for wartime forced labor to four Korean plaintiffs. Tokyo government responds that compensation rights were resolved under the 1965 treaty.
: Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio, meets South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers Meeting in Brunei.
: Yonhap News details the decision by the central banks of Japan and Korea to reduce the currency swap facility between the two countries by the $3 billion.
: South Korea and Japan reach an agreement to maintain the amount of fish each party can catch in the other’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs) for the next 12 months.
: Mainichi Shimbun reports that fights broke out in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, after roughly 200 members of Zaitokukai (Citizens Against Special Privileges for Foreigners in Japan) shouting anti-Korean slogans clashed with members of a counter-protest group shouting “Racists go home.” The police reported that eight people were arrested as a result of the brawl.
: Japan requests the return of a pair of medieval Korean artifacts taken from its temples in Korea earlier this year. The Korea Times notes that Seoul has been slow to reach a decision, given pressure by Buddhist groups to keep the statues in Korea.
: In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expresses concerns over how a lack of sensitivity to wartime issues can generate negative impact on regional stability, citing Mayor Hashimoto’s remarks regarding comfort women (sex slaves).
: Defense ministers of the US, Japan, and South Korea meet on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore to discuss a coordinated response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and related provocations.
: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that roughly 100 people gathered in front of the Tokyo office of South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo to protest the latest editorial describing the atomic bombings against Japan as divine punishment for its war crimes.
: United Nations (UN) Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) responds to Japan’s periodic report to the committee by urging Tokyo to increase efforts to educate its public about the comfort women/sex slave issue.
: Kyodo News reports that Japan is considering the resumption of bilateral talks with North Korea, adding that future talks will be conducted through the Foreign Ministry rather than “backdoor” channels.
: North Korea’s Rodong Shinmun article urges Japan to apologize and provide compensation for the suffering of Koreans during Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula.
: JoongAng Ilbo publishes an editorial that describes the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as “God’s vengeance,” prompting the Japanese embassy in Seoul to file protests with the South Korean newspaper.
: In an interview with Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Abe equates a visit to Yasakuni Shrine with those made by US presidents to the Arlington National Cemetery.
: Japan Times reports that Japanese protestors in Tokyo’s Shin-Okubo district, home to a large ethnic Korean population, made reference to Korean residents as “cockroaches” and called for their immediate “extermination.”
: JoongAng Daily reports that South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson rebukes Mayor Hashimoto’s statement regarding sex slaves as being “below the level of common sense,” and criticizes Prime Minister Abe for posing in the cockpit of a plane numbered 731.
: Seoul criticizes Tokyo over Iijima Isao’s visit to Pyongyang, expressing regret over not having been informed earlier of the envoy’s visit.
: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s special Cabinet adviser Iijima Isao visits Pyongyang to make progress on the “abduction issue.”
: Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru’s remarks that the Japanese military’s use of comfort women (sex slaves) was necessary during World War II raise the ire of neighboring countries as well as within Japan.
: South Korean President Park Geun-hye addresses a joint session of the US Congress, where she states that “those who are blind to the past cannot see the future,” alluding to the ongoing row over history with Japan.
: The 15th Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting takes place in Kitakyushu, Japan, amid rising diplomatic tensions. The meeting is attended by South Korea’s Environment Minister Yoon Seong-kyu, China’s Vice Environment Minister Li Ganjie, and Japan’s Environment Minister Ishihara Nobuteru.
: Japan’s Minister of State for the North Korean Abduction Issue Furuya Keiji attends symposiums in Washington DC and New York, to raise awareness regarding North Korea’s kidnapping of Japanese nationals.