Japan - Korea

Chronology from Sep 2013 to Dec 2013

: Yonhap reports that the South Korean government has called off a series of proposed defense meetings and military exchange programs with Japan, in response to Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine.

: Prime Minister Abe visits Yasukuni Shrine, triggering strong criticism from Beijing and Seoul as well as a statement of “disappointment” from Washington over Japan’s actions in exacerbating overall tensions in the region.

: Japanese government announces that it will provide 10,000 rounds of ammunition to the South Korean military involved in the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) in South Sudan. South Korean Defense Ministry announces four days later that the ammunition will be sent back as soon as additional military supplies arrive.

: Japan adopts its new National Security Strategy, which contains references to North Korea’s provocations and the need to resolve the abduction issue.

: South Korean Foreign Ministry announces the budget to promote South Korea’s sovereignty claims over Dokdo will increase by roughly 60 percent, from 4.24 billion won to 6.84 billion won ($ 6.5 million).

: Japan and South Korea conduct a joint search and rescue exercise (SAREX) near the South Korea-controlled reef of Ieodo/Socotra/Suyan rock in the East China Sea.

: Mainichi Shimbun reports that Tokyo has accepted South Korea’s expanded Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), despite the fact that there now exist some overlap with Japan’s ADIZ in the East China Sea.

: Asahi Shimbun reports concerns expressed by both South Korea and China of Tokyo’s Dec. 6 enactment of a state secrets protection law, which is perceived by many as evidence of further remilitarization of the country.

: China, Japan, and South Korea sign an agreement at a meeting held in Taishan, China to form a network to enable swift exchange of information in a nuclear emergency. Officials from China’s National Nuclear Security Administration, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), and South Korea’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission attend.

: According to Yonhap, South Korean politicians and scholars have expressed their intent to gain United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Memory of the World status for the hundreds of thousands of Koreans who were conscripted into labor and military service by Japanese forces during its colonial rule.

: North Gyeongsang Provincial Policy Agency in South Korea announces that the month of November has seen more applications to serve as police on Dokdo/Takeshima than any other single month since recruitment began in September 2011.

: Third round of negotiations on a trilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) involving China, South Korea, and Japan is held in Tokyo, Japan. The agenda includes items such as trade in goods, services, investment, competition policies, and intellectual property.

: South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Cho Tai-young clarifies that Japan has expressed its intention to not unilaterally exercise its right to collective self-defense on the Korean Peninsula without prior consent from Seoul.

: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide expresses dismay over plans by China and South Korea to erect a monument in Harbin China honoring Ahn Jung-geun, a Korea independence fighter who assassinated Japan’s first governor-general, Ito Hirobumi.

: Japan’s Vice Minister of Defense Nishi Masanori and Korean counterpart Baek Seung-joo meet on the sidelines of the Seoul Security Dialogue.

: An online poll released by the Korea Rural Economic Institute finds that eight out of 10 South Koreans have reduced fish consumption due to safety concerns associated with Japan’s Fukushima plant disaster.

: Eighth Trilateral Senior Foreign Officials Consultation takes place in Seoul. South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Lee Kyung-soo, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke participate.

: US Special Envoy for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies, South Korea’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Cho Tae-yong, and Japan’s Director General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Ihara meet in Washington to discuss denuclearization of North Korea.

: Asahi Shimbun reports that Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Japan Association of Corporate Executives and the Japan-Korea Economic Association issued a statement that expresses deep concern at the South Korean court ruling on compensation for forced labor during World War II.

: Trilateral meeting addressing environmental problems is held in Nanjing, with participation of Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research, Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences.

: Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio, states that the Abe administration stands by the 1995 statement (also known as the ‘Murayama Statement’) on Japan’s wartime conduct.

: Bank of Korea (BOK) releases data suggesting that South Korea’s cumulative current account surplus may surpass that of Japan’s for the first time, with South Korea’s at $42.22 billion and Japan’s at $41.53 billion during the period of January to August.

: South Korean Foreign Ministry summons Takashi Kurai, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy, over Japan’s video clip claiming sovereignty over Dokdo/Takeshima.

: Gwangju Local Court rules in favor of four Korean women who were forcibly recruited as laborers during Japanese colonialism, ordering Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay compensation.

: Mainichi Shimbun reports that Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party special committee on security and land legislation will examine land acquisition by a South Korean company near a Maritime Self-Defense Force base on Tsushima Island, Nagasaki Prefecture.

: South Korea conducts military exercises to defend Dokdo, prompting objections by Japan. According to the JoongAng Daily, the South Korean military initially planned to not disclose the drills to the media, but decided to do so after Japan repeated its claims to Takeshima through the video clip on its MOFA website.

: South Korean Foreign Ministry releases a statement protesting a recent video clip on Japan’s MOFA website claiming sovereignty over Dokdo/Takeshima.

: Furuya Keiji, Japan’s state minister for the North Korea abductees issue, visits Yasukuni Shrine, prompting a protest from Seoul.

: Shindo Yoshitaka, Japan’s internal affairs and communications minister, visits Yasukuni Shrine. He is part of a 157-member bipartisan delegation of Japanese lawmakers, which, according to Kyodo News, is close to the recent record of 168 (or roughly a quarter of Japan’s parliamentarians) that paid homage at the Spring Festival in April.

: Seoul expresses displeasure with PM Abe’s ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine, as the Japan begins its annual Autumn Festival.

: Leaders of Japan and South Korea meet at the ASEAN+3 Summit in Brunei. PM Abe asks governments to relax or eliminate import restrictions on Japanese produce.

: US, Japan, and South Korea conduct a two-day drill off the southern coast of Korea aimed at joint maritime search and rescue operations and disaster response, prompting the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) to react that the drills are “nuclear war exercises.”

: Japan Times quotes a Japanese fisheries agency official as stating that Tokyo will request the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee under the World Trade Organization (WTO) discuss South Korea’s restriction of imports of Japanese marine produce.

:  Prime Minister Abe Shinzo holds a brief conversation with South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye at the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Bali.

: Seoul criticizes Japan for attempting to downplay the radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear facility after revelations of toxic water leakage by TEPCO.

: Culture ministers of China, Japan, and South Korea meet in Gwangju, South Korea, to discuss greater mutual understanding among the three countries.

: South Korea’s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se meets Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

: Kyodo News reports that Japan is not interested in unconditional talks with North Korea in response to North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan’s proposal to revive the stalled Six-Party Talks without preconditions.

: Japan’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Sugiyama Shinsuke visits Seoul and meets First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun to talk about ways to break the stalemate in bilateral relations.

: South Korea announces the decision to ban imports of all fish products from eight Japanese prefectures (Fukushima, Aomori, Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Iwate, Tochigi, and Chiba), after deeming them to be vulnerable to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

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