Japan - Korea

Chronology from May 2019 to Aug 2019

: South Korean opposition party leader Na Kyung-won calls the Moon administration’s GSOMIA decision a plot to divert South Korean people’s attention away from a scandal involving one of President Moon’s closest aides.

: South Korea notifies Japan that it will withdraw from the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). Deputy National Security Advisor Hyun Chong Kim says at a press briefing that Seoul “maintained close communications with the United States in the course of reviewing the conflict with Japan as well as GSOMIA.”

: US Department of Defense spokesperson says that “the Department of Defense expresses our strong concern and disappointment that the Moon Administration has withheld its renewal of the Republic of Korea’s General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan.”

: Foreign ministers of China, South Korea, and Japan meet in Beijing.  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says that “While maintaining a constructive attitude, it is important [for Japan and South Korea] to find an appropriate solution through dialogue.”

: South Korea retaliates against Japan’s delisting of South Korea from their “whitelist” by delisting Japan from its own “whitelist.”

: President Moon’s Korean Independence Day speech strikes a more conciliatory tone toward Japan compared to his previous remarks.

: South Korea downgrades Japan from “most trusted status” to a newly established category, citing Tokyo’s violations of “basic principles of the international export control regime.”

: Japanese Defense Minister Iwaya Takeshi and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper agree that the General Security of Military Intelligence Agreement (GSOMIA) between Seoul and Tokyo should be maintained. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Marc Knapper highlights the importance of a constructive relationship between the allies in the face of challenges by North Korea, Russia, and China.

: Japan’s Cabinet votes to remove South Korea from its export “white list.” President Moon threatens countermeasures including reconsidering renewal of its military information-sharing deal with Japan.

: Foreign Ministers Kono and Kang meet in Bangkok but produce little agreement on bilateral issues. Secretary of State Pompeo also meets trilaterally with Kang and Kono.

: Japanese and South Korean lawmakers meet to ease tension, with little result.

: Foreign Minister Kono summons South Korea’s Ambassador Nam Gwan-pyo in Tokyo after South Korea rejects Japan’s offer of third-party arbitration to settle the dispute over wartime labor reparations.

: President Trump mentions the Japan-South Korea economic dispute and offers to help ease tension.

: Japanese government calls on South Korea to agree to establish an arbitration board designed to address the results of South Korea’s Supreme Court ruling.

: Tokyo lodges an official protest against Seoul for violating an agreement regarding what information would be disclosed from the July 12 meeting on Japan’s export restrictions. Officials from both sides dispute accounts of what was discussed in the meeting.

: Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha tells US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone conversation that Japan’s trade restrictions will harm South Korea’s economy and have an “undesirable” impact on trilateral cooperation among South Korea, Japan and the United States.”

: South Korea’s Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Hyun-chong makes an unscheduled visit to the US to discuss Japan’s trade restrictions.

: South Korean President Moon Jae-in urges Japan to retract its restrictions on high-tech materials, denouncing the manipulation of “trade for political ends.” ROK political leaders form a bipartisan delegation to visit Japan to negotiate a resolution.

: South Korean government halts discussion on joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in light of worsening relations with Japan and “domestic industrial conditions.”

: South Korea dissolves a Japanese-backed foundation that had been providing compensation for former “comfort women.”

: Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announces it will restrict the export of “high-tech materials” to South Korea beginning July 4. South Korea’s Ministry of Trade seeks “stern measures” against Japan in response.

: In an interview with Yomiuri TV, Prime Minister Abe states that a summit with South Korean President Moon would not happen due to a busy schedule.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposes the establishment of a fund by Japanese and Korean companies to compensate the plaintiffs. Foreign Minister Kono rejects South Korea’s proposal.

: Former Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio criticizes Abe and says Japan “should respect the South’s court ruling.”

: Defense ministers of Japan, South Korea, and the US meet and agree to cooperate closely toward the denuclearization of North Korea.

: North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency calls Prime Minister Abe’s proposal for a summit with North Korea “brazen-faced.”

: South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and Japanese Defense Minister Iwaya Takeshi hold a closed-door meeting, the first since the radar lock-on incident.

: South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Kono Taro meet on the sidelines of an OECD meeting.

: Japan’s Foreign Ministry announces that it is seeking an arbitration panel to help settle its dispute with South Korea over reparations for wartime forced laborers.

: South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon suggests Japan accept South Korea’s position on history to build future-oriented relations and expresses a desire for a summit at the G20 meeting in Osaka in June.

: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide and Vice President Mike Pence meet and agree that North Korea’s ballistic missile firing was regrettable, pledging to work closely together to address the issue.

: Senior defense officials of South Korea, Japan, and the US meet in Seoul for the 11th annual Defense Trilateral Talks to discuss North Korea’s military moves and denuclearization.

: Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and US President Donald Trump talk by telephone and Abe shares that he would like to meet with Kim Jong Un without any preconditions.

Date Range