Japan - Korea

Chronology from May 2018 to Aug 2018

: Culture ministers from South Korea, Japan, and China meet for three-day annual meeting in Harbin to discuss ways to expand trilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation. The officials vow for cooperation on developing the common brand of the East Asian Culture City.

: Washington Post reports that Japanese Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office chief Kitamura Shigeru met secretly in Vietnam in July with Kim Song Hye, head of the united front tactical office in the North Korean United Front Department.

: Japan publishes its 2018 Defense White Paper. The document assesses North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs as an “unprecedentedly serious and imminent threat.”

: Japanese government renews its claim to Dokdo/Takeshima in 2018 Defense White Paper for the 14th consecutive year.

: As a part of South Korea-Japan cultural exchange effort, the Busan municipal government re-enacts historic parade of Korea’s cultural missions to Japan’s southwestern port city of Shimonoseki.

: North Korea stresses the need for Japan’s apology and compensation before resuming dialogue.

: South Korea and Japan fail to renew fisheries agreement over differences on fishing quotas, but fishermen from the two countries continue talks over operations in a joint fishing zone.

: South Korean government expresses deep regret over Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s sending of a ritual offering to Yasukuni war shrine.

: At a ceremony marking the designation of a new national day for comfort women, President Moon says that “the issue of comfort women for the Japanese military can truly be resolved when the victims’ dignity and honor are restored and their broken hearts are healed.” He adds that “I hope this issue will not lead to a diplomatic dispute between South Korea and Japan. I do not even believe it is an issue that can be resolved through a diplomatic solution.”

: South Korea launches a research center to compile and commission research on the history of the Imperial Japanese Army’s wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

: South Korean heads of three major parties seek to visit Japan in September and meet with ruling and opposition lawmakers, and government officials in Tokyo as part of their bipartisan effort to foster a lasting peace on the peninsula.

: Japan ranks as the top choice for young South Koreans wanting to travel on short notice. According to Yonhap, in the first five months of 2018, 3.41 million Koreans visited Japan, outpacing 3.3 million Chinese visitors.

: South Korea and Japan foreign ministers meet on sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

: South Korean civic group says that it will push for the return of 35 sets of remains of forced labor victims from Japan in August.

: Cyber experts from South Korea, Japan, and the US hold trilateral meeting in Washington and agree to continue cooperation on issues affecting cybersecurity.

: The number of Japanese tourists to South Korea surges 40.2 percent comparing to last year, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.

: South Korean government approves a budget to replace a ¥1 billion ($9 million) fund the Japanese government paid to settle the diplomatic row over Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women.

: Civic groups from South and North Korea form a committee to bring the remains of Koreans forced to do hard labor in Japan during the 1910-45 colonial era. The two sides agree to seek support from the international community, including Japan.

: South Korean government provides Japan with $1 million in flood aid.

: South Korean civic group, the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation (KCRC), signs agreement with North Korea “to work together in bringing home from Japan the remains of those victims of forced labor” during its three-day visit to the North.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls in Maruyama Kohei, minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to deliver a formal protest message on Japanese government’s amendment to the teacher’s guide for use at high school that projects Japan’s territorial claim on Dokdo/Takeshima.

: Foreign Ministers Kang and Kono hold bilateral meeting in Tokyo. They also meet Secretary of State Pompeo in Tokyo to discuss Pompeo’s first visit to North Korea. They reaffirm their shared goal of complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.

: A June 2018 poll by Asan Institute for Policy Studies is released that shows South Korean’s favorable feelings toward Japan stood at 3.55 on a scale of 0 to 10.

: Japan’s Ambassador to South Korea Nagamine Yusumasa participates in Jeju forum and urges North Korea to implement complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of its nuclear program and address the abduction issue. He also conveys Japan’s desire for a bilateral summit with North Korea.

: North Korea warns Japan not to intervene in the Korean denuclearization issue, saying that Tokyo is not a signatory to the Panmunjom Declaration between the two Koreas nor the North’s summit agreement with the US.

: South Korean Ministry of National Defense dismisses Japan’s call for halt to “Dokdo defense drill.”

: Joint survey by South Korea’s East Asia Institute and Japan’s Genron NPO shows South Koreans are more optimistic than Japanese about North Korea’s denuclearization. On Seoul-Tokyo relations, for the first time since 2013, the ratio of Japanese having friendly feelings toward South Korean was lower than that of South Koreans toward them.

: Japanese media reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave a positive response to a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo and that Japan is considering an Abe visit to Pyongyang.

: Foreign Minister Kono visits South Korea and meets ROK counterpart Kang and US counterpart Pompeo. They share the view that it is important to convert the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit into “concrete actions by North Korea” and confirm their commitment to future policy coordination.

: US Secretary State Mike Pompeo talks by phone with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang and Japanese Foreign Minister Kono on the outcome of the US-North Korea summit in Singapore.

: Hideki Yano, secretary general of the Society Connecting the Colonization History Museum to Japan, a Japanese civic group, visits Seoul to deliver the group’s donation of $93,000 to the Seoul-based Center for Historical Truth and Justice. Yano urges Tokyo to compensate colonial-era victims in North Korea.

: Prime Minister Lee says the removal of a statue symbolizing forced labor under Japan’s colonial rule, from a site near the Japanese Consulate in Busan, took place because activists did not get permission for the installation.

: Statue symbolizing Korean forced laborers under Japan’s colonial rule is removed from a pedestrian road near the Japanese Consulate in Busan amid a strong clash between police and activists.

: Top military officials of South Korea, Japan, and the US hold talks over joint efforts to ensure regional peace and stability in Hawaii. Japan pushes for high-level talks with North Korea in August, according to Kyodo News.

: Minister of Gender Equality and Family Chung Hyun-back says Seoul plans to open a research institute in August to commemorate comfort women.

: Office of Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon denies Yomiuri report that Lee said that the Six-Party Talks “should discuss economic aid to the communist nation if Pyongyang agrees to denuclearization.”

: South Korean government denounces Japanese government’s claim to Dokdo/Takeshima and the “East Sea” name denial in its annual Diplomatic Bluebook.

: Prime Minister Abe says that he could talk with Kim Jong Un if it leads to resolution of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea.

: President Moon and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo meet on the sidelines of the South Korea, Japan, and  China trilateral summit and express hope for improved ties between the two countries. South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy and Japanese counterpart discuss ways to expand cooperation in energy and autonomous cars.

: South Korea, Japan, and China hold the seventh trilateral summit. The leaders vow joint efforts to denuclearize North Korea and agree to cooperate on promoting a trilateral free trade pact for mutual economic growth.

: President Moon Jae-in vows to help Japan improve its ties with North Korea and urges Tokyo and Pyongyang to start a dialogue for diplomatic normalization.

: Bank of Korea’s chief says South Korea will push to resume talks with Japan for currency swap deal, which broke off in January 2017 due to the comfort women issue.

: Finance chiefs of South Korea, Japan, and China release a joint statement warning against growing protectionism and stressing the importance of promoting an open and rule-based trade framework after their meeting in Manila.

: South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun prods Japan to stick to its pledge to atone for wartime forced labor.

Date Range