Japan - Korea

Chronology from Jul 2008 to Oct 2008

: Japan announces its intension to extend economic sanctions against Pyongyang for another six months after Oct. 13.

: In his address at the UN General Assembly, North Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Pak Gil-Yon defends Pyongyang’s resumption of its nuclear activities and claims that “war criminal state” Japan is not suited to be a permanent U.N. Security Council member.

: Aso Taro is appointed as Japan’s prime minister.

: The Chongryon group of North Korean residents urges Japan to compensate for its wartime aggression before the normalization of the bilateral relations.

: Japan announces that a trilateral summit among China, South Korea, and Japan proposed for Sept. 21 will be postponed following Prime Minister Fukuda’s resignation.

: Prime Minister Fukuda announces his resignation after being in office for less than a year.

: Korea Times quotes diplomatic sources in Seoul and reports that Japan described the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as Japanese territory in its Defense White Paper 2008. It is the fourth consecutive time Japan’s annual defense paper makes that claim.

: Washington Post carries a full-page advertisement funded by some 110,000 South Korean internet users supporting South Korea’s claim to the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.

: South Korea’s Democratic Labor Party and North Korea’s Democratic Labor Party issue a joint statement criticizing Japan’s claim over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.

: ROK nuclear envoy Kim Sook and Japanese counterpart Saiki Akitaka discuss a strategy to encourage Pyongyang to accept a proposed verification mechanism. Tokyo shares with Seoul the outcome of its working-level negotiations with Pyongyang.

: The U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood reiterates that it will not take North Korea off its State Sponsors of Terrorism List until Pyongyang agrees to a proposed process of a full verification.

: President Lee, in his speech commemorating Korea’s liberation from Japan’s colonial rule, urges Japan to face up to history and refrain from unfortunate past today. He avoids directly referring to the Dokdo/Takeshima islets dispute.

: Prime Minister Fukuda does not visit Yasukuni Shrine. Three of his Cabinet Ministers – Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Ota Seiichi, Justice Minister Yasuoka Okiharu and State Minister Noda Seiko – make separate visits to the shrine but refrain from characterizing the visit as “official.”

: North Korea agrees with the terms of reinvestigation of the abduction issue. Foreign Minister Komura describes the agreement as “progress.”

: Japan and North Korea meet for a 2-day working-level meeting to discuss the implementation of the agreement reached in June.

: Foreign Minister Komura says that Japan will consider a partial lifting of its sanctions against North Korea if it starts the reinvestigation of the abduction issue.

: The U.S. announces its decision to postpone its removal of North Korea from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List from the original date Aug. 11.

: South Korea’ Ambassador to Japan Kwon Chul-hyun returns to Japan after being recalled in protest over Japan’s claim over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.

: Sankei Shimbun poll shows that 73.7 percent of Japanese respondents think that the Dokdo/Takeshima islets are Japanese territory, while 75 percent says that the Japanese government should lay stronger claim to the islets.

: The U.S. National Security Council’s senior director for Asian Affairs announces that the U.S. Board of Geographic Names reversed its change of the status of the Dokdo/Takeshima islets from “non-designated territory” to “South Korea.”

: South Korea starts a 3-day defense exercise in waters near Ulleung Island and Dokdo in preparation for an invasion of the area by countries including Japan, according to South Korea’s Navy.

: Asahi Shimbun reports that the territorial dispute over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets has led to cancellations of Japan-South Korean student exchange programs.

: Korean Times reports that South Korean Defense White Paper 2008 will make a stronger claim on the sovereign over the islets.

: Seoul establishes a joint task force on the Dokdo/Takeshima islets to counter Japan’s claim on the islets. The countermeasure system will be headed by South Korean Prime Minister’s Office and joined by relevant ministries.

: Foreign ministers of the Six-Party Talks meet in Singapore on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urges North Korean counterpart Pak Ui-Chun to set up a nuclear verification regime and to address the abduction issue.

: Yomiuri Shimbun quotes South Korea’s Yonhap as saying that South Korea will postpone the bilateral FTA talks indefinitely due to unfavorable political environment.

: Choson Ilbo reports that the U.S. Library of Congress makes changes to the naming of the Dokdo/Takeshima islets from “Tok Island (Korea)” to “Liancourt Rocks.”

: South Korea’s Ambassador to Japan Kwon Chul-hyun says in a press conference that Seoul may withdraw its support for Tokyo’s efforts on the abduction issue as well as on the North’s development of long-range missile that can reach Japan.

: South Korea’s Coast Guard says it stepped up patrols near the Dokdo islets.

: NHK TV reports that Japan has announced its plan to educate students on the islets beginning in 2009 instead next year instead of 2012.

: The Japanese government announces that new guidelines for middle school teachers will describe the Dokdo/Takeshima islets as an integral part of Japanese territory.

: Foreign Minister Yoo Myung-hwan summons Japanese Ambassador Shigeie Toshinori to protest the decision. Ruling GNP Supreme Council member Rep. Chung Mong-joon and DP Chairman Chung Se-hyun lead delegations to the islets.

: Yomiuri Shimbun reports that President Lee Myung-bak made ambiguous remarks regarding the islets in a meeting with Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo on the sidelines of G8 summit in Hokkaido.

: A Heads of Delegation Meeting of the Six-Party Talks is held in Beijing.

: New York Times carries a full-page advertisement, “Do you know?” claiming South Korean sovereignty over the Dokdo/Takeshima islets.

Date Range