Japan - Korea

Chronology from May 2023 to Aug 2023

: South Korea, Japan, and the US hold a trilateral missile defense exercise in respond to North Korea’s failed satellite test.

: President Yoon and PM Han eat seafood together to show domestic seafood is safe and assuage public concerns.

: South Korea launches a 100-day inspection into the country of origin marking for imported seafood.

: South Korean government announces that the amount of tritium in seawater after Japan began discharging ALPS-treated wastewater into the ocean is safe and well below the standard limit.

: Four South Korean opposition party lawmakers participate in a local protest in Fukushima against the wastewater discharge plan.

: Sixteen South Korean university students are arrested for attempting to enter a Japanese embassy building in Seoul in protest of the wastewater discharge plan.

: South Korean government says the Fukushima wastewater discharge plan has been carried out as “originally planned” and without any “abnormal situations.” It also announces it will increase radiation tests on farmed seafood.

: Korean PM Han calls on Japan to transparently disclose information about its wastewater discharge plan at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant for the next 30 years.

: South Korean opposition leader Lee Jae-myung calls Japan’s release of wastewater from Fukushima an “evil act” and “one of the worst environmental destructions.”

: South Korean government says there are “no scientific or technical problems” with Japan’s wastewater discharge plan, but adds that it “neither approves nor opposes the plan.”

: Japan begins the release of ALPS-treated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

: Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo says the Korean government will file an international lawsuit if Japan’s wastewater discharge plan is not conducted to standards.

: IAEA and South Korean government agree to set up a regular information-sharing framework on Japan’s Fukushima wastewater discharge plan.

: South Korean environmental groups hold protests in Seoul against Japan’s Fukushima wastewater discharge plan, scheduled for Aug. 24.

: President Biden, President Yoon, and Prime Minister Kishida hold a historic trilateral summit at Camp David, and adopt the Spirit of Camp David and the Camp David Principles.

: Busan District Court rejects lawsuit to stop the Fukushima wastewater discharge plan.

: South Korea and Japan hold third and final round of video conference talks to discuss the Fukushima wastewater discharge plan.

: In his Liberation Day speech, President Yoon calls Japan and South Korea “partners that cooperate on security and the economy.”

: South Korea and Japan hold second round of video conference talks to discuss the Fukushima wastewater discharge plan.

: South Korean government protests Japanese claims to Dokdo/Takeshima in its latest defense white paper.

: South Korean government reassures the public that it has adopted the strictest method to test radiation levels in seafood imports from Japan.

: South Korea and Japan hold first round of working-level meetings in Tokyo to discuss the Fukushima wastewater discharge plan.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announces the radiation level of all seafood imported from Japan in 2023 is within the safe range.

: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Korean Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin, and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori hold call to discuss ways to expand trilateral cooperation.

: South Korea begins radiation tests on seawater in 108 ports to check for radioactivity levels to ease concerns over the Fukushima wastewater discharge plan.

: Japan returns South Korea to its white list of preferred trading partners, four years after removing it from the list.

: US, South Korean, and Japanese nuclear envoys, Sung Kim, Kim Gunn, and Funakoshi Takehiro, respectively, meet in Japan to discuss North Korea’s latest missile test.

: Japan, South Korea, and US hold trilateral missile defense exercise in the sea between Korea and Japan.

: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese FM Hayashi, and Korean FM Park hold a trilateral Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Jakarta and issue a Joint Statement.

: Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and South Korean Foreign Minister Park meet in Jakarta on the sidelines of ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, and discuss Japan’s plan to discharge treated water as well as North Korea’s ballistic missile launch.

: Prime Minister Kishida and President Yoon hold a bilateral summit in Lithuania on the sidelines of the NATO summit. The Japan-Australia-New Zealand-South Korea Leaders’ Meeting takes place the same day, followed by a joint statement condemning North Korea’s ballistic missile launch.

: 10 members of South Korea’s National Assembly, civic activists, and South Korean fishermen protest Japan’s planned discharge of Fukushima water outside Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s residence in Tokyo.

: South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry hold Export Control Policy Dialogue and sign a Memorandum of Cooperation to periodically hold these policy dialogues.

: IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi arrives in South Korea to meet Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Yoo Guk-hee, chairperson of South Korea’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, as well as representatives of the opposition Democratic Party to discuss Japan’s plans to release Fukushima wastewater.

: South Korean government announces that based on its own scientific analysis, Japan’s plan to release the Fukushima wastewater would meet international standards.

: The South Korean government announces it “respect[s] the announcement of the IAEA.” The South Korean opposition Democratic Party questions the credibility of the report and holds protests at the National Assembly the next day.

: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concludes that Japan’s planned release of treated wastewater is consistent with international safety standards.

: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the 2023 International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation held in Qingdao and says China, South Korea, and Japan should “create an atmosphere for the early resumption of leaders’ meetings.”

: South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun meets with Hirohide Hirai, Japan’s vice minister for international affairs in Seoul to discuss the bilateral relationship.

: Korea Customs Service announces that Commissioner Yoon Tae-sik will meet his Japanese counterpart in the second half of 2023, the first such meeting since 2016.

: Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki Shunichi and South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Choo Kyungho hold 8th Korea-Japan Finance Ministerial Dialogue in Tokyo, and agree to resume the $10 billion currency swap deal which expired in 2015.

: Japanese Trade Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi announces Cabinet Decision to reinstate South Korea to its “white list” of trade partners, which will be promulgated on June 30 and enter into force from July 21.

: South Korea and Japan hold a video conference briefing session on the treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

: Data from the Korea Customs Service shows that Korean imports of Japanese seafood in May decreased 30.6% compared to the previous year.

: South Korean government starts daily press briefings to update the public on the planned release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

: US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan meets with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Tokyo for a trilateral national security advisors meeting.

: South Korea and Japan hold a ceremony to launch the joint technology R&D project to strengthen the competitiveness of their fine chemical industries.

: Korean DM Lee and Japanese DM Hamada meet on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue and agree to hold working-level talks to resolve and discuss ways to prevent the recurrence of the 2018 maritime dispute.

: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, and Japanese Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu hold a trilateral ministerial meeting in Singapore and issue a joint statement.

: Prime Minister Kishida calls for high-level negotiations with North Korea over the abduction issue.

: South Korea’s Foundation for Victims of Forced Labor Mobilization by Imperial Japan, the foundation set up by the South Korean government to carry out the forced labor compensation plan, announces it has paid compensation for the first time to one surviving forced labor victim.

: A 21-member South Korean delegation arrives in Japan for a four-day visit to assess the Fukushima wastewater discharge plan.

: President Yoon arrives for a three-day trip to attend the G7 summit in Hiroshima. He meets 20 Korean atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima. He also joins Prime Minister Kishida to pay tribute to Korean victims at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

: Prime Minister Kishida tells JoongAng Ilbo that he wants to “open a new era of friendship and trust” with South Korea.

: South Korea and Japan agree on a four-day visit for the South Korean delegation to assess the Fukushima wastewater discharge plan.

: President Yoon hosts former Japanese Prime Minister Aso Taro for dinner.

: South Korea’s Federation of Korean Industry (FKI) and Japan’s Keidanren launches a joint steering committee for their $1.5 million “partnership fund.”

: South Korea, the US, and Japan work on a consultation group on sharing missile warning data in real time.

: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida meets the heads of the six major South Korean business associations. South Korean opposition leader Lee Jae-myung calls the summit between Yoon and Kishida “submissive diplomacy.”

: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio arrives in South Korea for the start of two-day visit and a summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, the first visit by a Japanese leader since 2018. The two leaders agree to allow a group of South Korean experts to visit the Fukushima nuclear power plant to conduct an on-site inspection of the planned wastewater release. Kishida also offers his own personal feelings and said his “heart hurts” for the “difficult and sad experiences” of Korean forced laborers.

: One of the three surviving South Korean forced labor victim expresses intent to accept third-party reimbursement as part of the compensation plan reached between South Korea and Japan.

: Total number of surviving comfort women registered with the South Korean government declines to nine after a comfort woman passes away.

: On the sidelines of the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank in Incheon, South Korean and Japanese finance ministers agree to resume their annual finance meeting in the near future. At the same annual meeting, South Korea, Japan, and China hold their first trilateral meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors since 2019.

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