Japan - Korea

Chronology from May 2021 to Aug 2021

: South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hwang Hee holds virtual trilateral talks with Japanese counterpart Koichi Hagiuda and Chinese counterpart Hu Heping to discuss cooperation during Covid-19 pandemic.

: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato says that liquification of Japanese assets “will be a very serious situation for Korea-Japan relations” and “should be avoided” in response to questions regarding seizure of Mitsubishi Heavy bonds.

: On the 76th anniversary of Korean independence from Japanese rule, President Moon states that his country always leaves the door open for dialogue with Japan.

: South Korean Foreign Ministry Director-General for Asian and Pacific Affairs Lee Sang-ryol summonsJapanese Deputy Chief of mission Naoki Kumagai to express disapproval of Japanese Defense Minister Kishi’s Yasukuni Shrine visit.

: South Korean Suwon District Court Anyang branch orders seizure of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries assets held by South Korean manufacturer LS Mtron valued at 850 million won ($725,000) in connection with forced labor compensation.

: Japanese newspaper Nikkei Shimbun reports that Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Soma has been recalled to Japan due to offensive remarks about President Moon.

: Gallup Korea opinion poll indicates that 66% of South Koreans have no interest in the Tokyo Summer Olympic games, and only 32% of South Koreans are interested.

: South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee adopts resolution indicating that the government of Japan has not provided sufficient acknowledgement of Korean forced labor victims at the information center for UNESCO World Heritage site Hashima (Gunkanjima) Island in Japan.

: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman meets South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mori Takeo in Tokyo to discuss policy toward North Korea.

: South Korean Press Secretary Park Soo-hyun announces that President Moon will not attend the Tokyo Olympics and states, “As the Tokyo Olympics is a peaceful festival for all people around the world, we hope that Japan will host it safely and successfully.”

: South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun summons Japanese Ambassador Aiboshi Koichi to express disapproval of remarks by Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Soma about South Korean President Moon.

: South Korea Olympic committee states that banners referencing war between Korea and Japan that were deemed provocative by the International Olympic Committee have been removed from the Olympic village accommodation center after the IOC promised that Japanese rising sun flags will be banned from Olympic event areas.

: Deputy Chief of Mission at the Japanese embassy in South Korea Soma Hirohisa tells South Korean news reporter that “President Moon is masturbating himself” in response to a question regarding potential ROK–Japan summit during the Tokyo Olympics.

: Demonstrators gather for the 1,500th Wednesday protest of unresolved comfort woman issues outside of the prior location of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.

: Japanese Ministry of Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi presents Defense of Japan 2021 White Paper to Japanese Cabinet. The White Paper refers to the Liancourt Rocks as “inherent parts of the territory of Japan.” During a press conference, South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Choi Young-sam says, “The government of the Republic of Korea strongly protests against the Japanese government’s reiteration of futile territorial claims over Dokdo.”

: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee releases a report noting deficiencies in the Tokyo Industrial Heritage Information Centre’s provision of information about forced labor at the UNESCO World Heritage site Hashima (Gunkanjima) Island in Japan.

: Citizen’s Gallery Sakae, announces temporary closure for duration of scheduled exhibit displaying comfort woman statue, “Statue of a Girl of Peace” in Nagoya.

: During a COVID-19-related press conference in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Suga addresses question about Japan–ROK summit during the Summer Olympics and says, it is “obvious that a respectful response should be accorded in diplomatic terms.”

: Exhibition opens at Citizen’s Gallery Sakae and includes the comfort woman statue, “Statue of a Girl of Peace” in Nagoya, Japan.

: South Korea’s National Assembly Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee passes unanimous resolution requesting that the government of Japan work with the International Atomic Energy Agency and South Korea to confirm safety of plan to release treated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant water into the Pacific Ocean.

: Korean Automobile Manufacturers Association report shows that in 2020, South Korea imported 46,000 US cars, surpassing Japanese car imports to become the second highest source of imported cars after Germany.

: Director-General of the Japanese Ministry of Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Takehiro Funakoshi, South Korean Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Noh Kyu-duk, and US Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during a trilateral meeting in Seoul.

: South Korean armed forces hold East Sea Territory Protection Exercise military drill near Liancourt Rocks. During a press conference, Japanese Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobo says, “This sort of drill is unacceptable and extremely regrettable.”

: A petition filed with the Blue House seeking impeachment of Seoul District Court judge Kim Yang-ho after dismissal of forced labor lawsuit accrues more than 200,000 signatures.

: Seoul Central District Court judge Nam Seong-woo orders government of Japan to disclose assets held in South Korea after Japanese government’s refusal to comply with court order to pay 100 million won in lawsuit filed by 12 “comfort women.”

: International Olympic Committee confirms that North Korea will not participate in the Summer Olympics for the first time in 33 years.

: Seoul District Court Judge Kim Yang-ho dismisses a lawsuit for compensation from 16 Japanese companies filed by 85 South Korean victims of forced labor.

: Korean President Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide have their first in-person discussion, during the G7 summit in London, since Suga entered office.

: Yomiuri Shimbun and Hankook Ilbo release survey showing that for the third year in a row more than 80% of respondents in Japan (81%) and South Korea (89%) indicate that ROK–Japan relations are “bad”; 69% of respondents in Japan indicated they could not trust South Korea and 80% of respondents in South Korea indicated they could not trust Japan.

: South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy reports that 15% of South Korean materials and components imports between January and April 2021 came from Japanese.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls in Japanese Deputy Ambassador Soma Hirohisa to express disapproval of the display of the Takeshima/Dokdo Islands as Japanese territory on the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee website.

: More than 60 South Korean organizations announce formation of Joint Action for Stopping the Ocean Release of Radioactive Water, a coalition advocating for withdrawal of Japan’s decision to discharge nuclear power plant water into the ocean during a press conference at the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions Seoul office.

: South Korean Minister of Health and Welfare Kwon Deok-chul asks for an increase in COVID-19 vaccine production and a close examination of Japan’s plan to discharge Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant water into the ocean.

: During a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses denuclearization of North Korea, climate change, the pandemic, and the US–ROK alliance on Capitol Hill. Pelosi also expressed a desire for justice for comfort women victims.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses concern about the discharge of contaminated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant water in press statement.

: US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines meets with South Korean counterpart Park Jie-won and Japanese counterpart Takizawa Hiroaki in Tokyo. Park and Takizawa hold bilateral talks in Tokyo.

: FM Motegi, FM Chung, and Secretary Blinken hold trilateral talks at G7 summit.

: South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki solicits cooperation among South Korea, China, and Japan for regional economic recovery and mitigation of emerging risks during ASEAN +3 virtual meeting.

: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds separate bilateral talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong at the G7 summit in London.

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