Japan - Korea

Chronology from Sep 2011 to Dec 2011

: Mainichi Daily News reports that Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and Japanese counterpart Gemba Koichiro agree in a telephone call that it is vital for Tokyo, Seoul, and Washington to make a coordinated response to North Korean affairs.

: President Lee and Prime Minister Noda meet in Kyoto.
Dec. 19, 2011: The Dec. 17 death of Kim Jong Il is reported by KCNA. Immediately thereafter, Lee and Noda confirm over the phone that they will work together in responding to the death.

: Japan Times reports a “Peace Monument” was unveiled near the Japan Embassy in Seoul on the occasion of the 1,000th weekly demonstration by those calling for an apology and compensation from the Japanese government for comfort women/sex slaves.

: Asahi Shimbun reports the successful return of ancient royal books to South Korea. The 1,200 pieces, includes the “Joseon Wangsil Uigwe,” or the Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty.

: Nuclear safety authorities of Korea, Japan, and China meet to improve information sharing on accidents and other safety matters involving nuclear power plants.

: Seoul and Tokyo hold their first working-level meeting to strengthen cooperation in the procurement of liquefied natural gas and other gas-related issues. Mainichi Daily News reports that future discussions are expected to involve issues such as joint participation in the development of gas fields in Russia, and cooperation on shale gas in North America.

: The 35th Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union meets in Seoul. In a joint statement, the lawmakers call on their respective governments to step up efforts to sign a free trade and economic partnership agreement.

: The Rodong Sinmun carries an article citing the follies of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and the need for Tokyo to repent and pay compensation for its colonial rule or become “a sworn enemy of the Korean people.”

: Chosun Ilbo announces plans by Seoul to erect a new sea wall and tourist facilities in the waters off Dokdo/Takeshima as early as 2016.

: AFP reports that Beijing aspires to open full negotiations on a free trade agreement with Japan and South Korea in 2012.

: South Korea, Japan, and the US hold trilateral talks on the resumption of the stalled Six-Party Talks, at the venue of the East Asia Summit in Bali.

: Korea Times reports that the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) will demand North Korea pay $1.89 billion in compensation for losses incurred by the failed light-water reactor project.

: The South Korean Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) hold the seventh joint search and rescue exercise (SAREX) near Busan.

: Mainichi Daily News reports that the Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Muto has lodged a protest with First Vice Foreign Minister Park Suk Hwan, over a visit by South Korean lawmakers to Dokdo/Takeshima for a concert, describing it as “utterly unacceptable.”

: The vice defense ministers of South Korea and Japan, Lee Yong Gul and Nakae Kimito, hold talks in Seoul to discuss bilateral defense exchanges.

: AFP announces that Seoul and Tokyo have agreed to expand their currency swap arrangement to the equivalent of $70 billion in the face of global uncertainty as well as to revive efforts at reaching a free trade pact.

: President Lee and Prime Minister Noda meet at the Blue House to discuss bilateral relations and regional security.

: Yonhap News reports that North Korea has demanded $5.7 billion in compensation for a failed light-water reactor project initiated by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO).

: Japanese Foreign Minister Gemba Koichiro visits Seoul and meets Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan. They discuss North Korea’s nuclear issue and bilateral relations.

: Yonhap cites Sugiyama Shinsuke, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, as stating that the issue of the compensation for Korean comfort women/sex slaves has already been fully resolved.

: President Lee calls on Japan to expand cultural exchange as a way to forge a forward-looking partnership between the two neighbors. Lee’s message was read out loud by South Korea’s cultural minister at the joint South Korea-Japan cultural festival held in Tokyo.

: Korea Times reports that the South Korean Foreign Ministry has set up a task force to specifically deal with the issue of compensation for Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japan’s World War II soldiers.

: Tokyo asks Seoul to block plans by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan to erect a “Peace Monument” near the Japanese Embassy.

: Korea, Japan, and China open a secretariat for trilateral cooperation in Seoul.

: Maeil Kyungjae reports the results of  2010 Northeast Asian History Foundation survey of perceptions of history which shows 46.8 percent of Koreans felt that bilateral relations were positive, while 71.4 percent of the Japanese thought relations were positive. The proportion of those in their 20s citing the relations as negative in Korea and Japan, respectively, was 61.5 percent and 37.3 percent.

: President Lee and Prime Minister Noda meet for the first time since Noda’s inauguration while attending the UN General Assembly in New York.

: South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Byung-jae announces that South Korea has proposed talks with Japan over compensation for comfort women/sex slaves.

: According to Japan Today, Japanese authorities have questioned nine suspected North Korean defectors (three men, three women, and three boys) found off the western coast of Japan near Kanazawa. On Oct. 4, the group is taken from an immigration facility in Nagasaki and flown to South Korea.

: Kyodo News reports that Seoul is considering proposing official talks with Tokyo regarding the compensation of the comfort women/sex slaves.

: South Korea’s Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Choung Byoung-gug and Kondo Seiichi, commissioner of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on bilateral cooperation to protect copyrights and related rights of their cultural products.

: According to DongA Ilbo, President Lee Myung-bak stresses in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Noda the value of “future-oriented” bilateral relations and the need to “not forget the past, but not let that past hold up the future.”

: Noda Yoshihiko is formally appointed prime minister following his election by the Diet on Aug. 30.

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