Japan - Korea

Chronology from Jul 2002 to Oct 2002

: Japan decides to send a team of investigators to the DPRK to gather information on the abduction of Japanese nationals.

: The DPRK designates Sinuiju as a special administrative region to stimulate foreign investment and names Yang Bin, a Chinese-born entrepreneur, as chief executive.

: Japan and the ROK urge the U.S. to resume contacts with the DPRK.

: Japan and North Korea held unofficial consultations in Beijing, with Tokyo demanding a thorough investigation into the abductions of its nationals.

: PM Koizumi indicates that Japan may resume rice aid to North Korea before normalization of bilateral relations. He also says that the DPRK agreed to international inspections of its nuclear program at the landmark summit.

: U.S. government “welcomes” and “supports” the outcome of the summit meeting between PM Koizumi and DPRK leader Kim.

: PM Koizumi holds phone talks with ROK President Kim.

: Japanese PM Koizumi meets DPRK leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. The two leaders make progress toward the normalization of relations. Kim acknowledges alleged abduction cases.

: ROK FM Choi and Japanese FM Kawaguchi hold talks in New York.

: DPRK leader Kim Jong-il expresses willingness to normalize diplomatic relations with Japan in a written interview with Kyodo News.

: Suspected DPRK spy ship salvaged by the Japan Coast Guard arrives in Kagoshima Bay.

: Japan Coast Guard raises suspected DPRK spy ship that sank in December.

: Six relatives of Red Army members who hijacked a Japan Air Line plane in 1970 arrives in Japan. Five are children of the hijackers who were born in the DPRK.

: Russian President Vladimir Putin asks PM Koizumi for Japanese participation in the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Koreas railroad projects.

: Japanese government decides to extend economic aid to the DPRK under the strict condition that resources not be used for military purposes.

: At the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group meeting in Seoul, the U.S. and ROK express “strong support” for PM Koizumi’s visit to Pyongyang.

: Ten-day UN conference on geographical names concludes without addressing demands by two Koreas that the name for the body of water now called the Sea of Japan be changed.

: ROK FM Choi meets Japanese FM Kawaguchi in Johannesberg.

: Japan decides to provide ROK with flood relief supplies worth 16.7 million yen ($140,600).

: Korea and Japan announce plans to resume joint exploration for oil and natural gas in the joint development zone on the Korea-Japan continental shelf after a 16-year halt.

: Japan announces PM Koizumi will visit North Korea on Sept. 17 for talks with Kim Jong-il. Koizumi holds phone talks with ROK President Kim and expresses full support for Sunshine Policy.

: ROK welcomes Japan’s proposal to establish a six-party security forum on Northeast Asia, which would also include DPRK, U.S., PRC and Russia.

: Japan and the DPRK hold high-level talks in Pyongyang to pave the way for negotiations on establishing diplomatic ties. PM Koizumi sends a message to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il through the Japanese delegation and proposes a six-party forum.

: North Korean vice minister of trade Kim Yong-sul makes 11-day unofficial visit to Tokyo to explain Pyongyang’s new market-based reforms to Koreans living in Japan.

: Japan launches diplomatic effort to foil the ROK’s attempt to rename the body of water separating the two countries from “Sea of Japan” to “East Sea.”

: Japanese and DPRK Red Cross officials meet in Pyongyang. The DPRK pledges to make a serious effort to address the abduction issue.

: Japan proceeds with spy satellite plan; the areas to be subject to surveillance are China, Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, Russia, and Japan.

: Japanese Red Cross society confirmed the survival in Japan of several Koreans missing since wartime.

: Ehime prefecture School board in Japan endorses nationalist textbook defending Japan’s wartime aggression for use in three junior high schools.

: UN International Hydrographic Organization agrees to consider ROK and DPRK proposal to rename the “Sea of Japan” the “East Sea/Sea of Japan.”

: ROK FM Choi meets Japanese counterpart Kawaguchi in Tokyo.

: Concrete pouring ceremony is held at Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization light water reaction construction site in the DPRK.

: Korea, China, and Japan agree to cooperate closely on key financial market issues, including the stabilization of the region’s foreign exchange markets in order to maintain financial stability.

: DPRK devalues won to 1/70th of its former value as part of an economic reform drive, according to a Chinese media report.

: FM Kawaguchi and DPRK counterpart Paek Nam-sun meet in Brunei and agree to make a serious effort to realize the normalization of relations.

: South Korea’s national tour operator says next month it will begin offering the first package tours from Japan to the DPRK’s Geumgangsan.

: Foreign ministers from the ROK, Japan and PRC agreed to expand economic and human exchanges, promising to hold three-way talks on a regular basis.

: DPRK expresses regret over the June 29 naval clash.

: DPRK decides to rescind its decades-long rice rationing system.

: ROK and Japan hold fourth high-level economic council meeting in Tokyo.

: FM Kawaguchi holds talk with ROK counterpart Choi Sung-Hong in Seoul and discusses joint policy on the naval clash between DPRK and ROK patrol boats.

: Four aging Japanese Red Army members, who hijacked an airliner 32 years ago, complete official preparations in DPRK to return to Japan.

: The first meeting of the Korea-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Joint Study Group in Seoul.

: Japanese investigation team finds Korean writing on a suspected DPRK ship salvaged by Japanese authorities in the East China Sea.

: Japanese Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko removes Okazaki Kiyoshi as consul general in Shenyang for failing to deal appropriately with North Korean asylum-seekers at the consulate in May.

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