Japan - Korea

Chronology from Sep 2015 to Dec 2015

: Japanese prosecutors indict Korean suspect in Nov. 23 Yasukuni Shrine blast.

: Foreign Minister Kishida meets South Korea counterpart Yun Byung-Se in Seoul for talks on “comfort women/sex slaves.” The meeting culminates in a deal to resolve the issue.

: Kato Tatsuya, former Seoul bureau chief for Sankei Shimbun is acquitted on criminal libel and the prosecution announces that it will not appeal the court’s decision.

: The 11th session of talks on “comfort women/sex slaves” is held in Tokyo.

: Park Yu-ha, professor at Sejong University and the author of Comfort Women of the Empire, goes on trial in South Korea for defamation.

: Kyodo News reports that Japan and North Korea secretly met in China several times to discuss the abduction issue.

: Japanese police finds a box containing feces in the parking lot of the South Korean Consulate in Yokohama, accompanied by a hand-written note declaring the package to be retaliation against the Yasukuni blast that occurred in late November.

: Despite protests from China and Russia, a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting is held on North Korea’s human rights violations.

: Kyoto District Court sentences Masamichi Kyo to 20 months in prison and suspension for four years, on grounds of violating Japan’s foreign exchange law for illegally importing matsutake mushrooms from North Korea.

: South Korean man is arrested by Japanese police in connection to a bombing in a public restroom at Yasukuni Shrine.

: Busan Cultural Foundation announces plans to submit a joint application to register records related to the Joseon Tongsinsa (diplomatic goodwill missions to Japan that took place during the Joseon era) on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register by March 2016.

: A “sex slaves” history museum opens in Daegu, the fourth such museum in South Korea.

: CNN reports that at least 12 boats with 22 decaying bodies aboard have been found shipwrecked on Japan’s coasts over the past two months; speculated to be from North Korea.

: Yonhap News reports a failed DPRK submarine-launched ballistic missile test.

: Nukaga Fukushiro, a senior lawmaker in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), attends as Japan’s special representative the state funeral for former South Korean President Kim Young-sam, who died on Nov. 22.

: UN General Assembly passes a resolution calling for North Korea to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its human rights violations.

: Mass gathering in Niigata, the “Never Forget the Abductees Assembly,” is led by parents of Yokota Megumi.

: Ishikane Kimihiro, director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meets South Korean counterpart Lee Sang-duk in Seoul.

: Tokyo Shimbun announces that it has acquired a 356-page secret manual that instructs North Korean agents about carrying out abductions abroad and evading capture.

: Japan’s Supreme Court upholds a lower court ruling to approve the purchase of the Tokyo headquarters of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon).

: Prime Minister Abe and President Park meet for the first time since May 2012 in Seoul, on the sidelines of a South Korea-Japan-China summit.

: Tenth Trilateral (China-Japan-ROK) Economic and Trade Ministers Meeting is held in Seoul; all sides agree to cooperate in establishing a free trade agreement (FTA) and promoting the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

: Some 154 professors and lecturers of Korean history release a joint statement opposing the ROK’s reinstatement of government-authored textbooks for secondary education.

: Defense Minister Nakatani Gen visits South Korea and meets Defense Minister Han Min-Koo.

: Justice Minister Iwaki Mitsuhide and Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Takaichi Sanae pay respects at the Yasukuni Shrine, a day after Prime Minister Abe sends his offering, inviting protest from South Korea.

: Japanese House of Representatives Speaker Oshima Tadamori and South Korean National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui Hwa hold talks in Seoul.

: China, Japan, and South Korea hold 15th Trilateral Finance Ministers in Lima, Peru, on the sidelines of the G20, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings.

: Komeito Chief Representative Yamaguchi Natsuo visits Seoul and meets President Park to deliver a personal letter from Prime Minister Abe expressing his interest in a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the trilateral meeting involving China.

: Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio meets South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-Se in New York.

: Yamatani Eriko, Japanese minister in charge of the abduction issue, emphasizes the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea at the 10th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC), which takes place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

: World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) establishes a panel after Japan reiterates its concerns that South Korea has adopted and maintains Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures (import bans) that are inconsistent with provisions of the SPS Agreement. For a summary of the dispute to date, see here.

: Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and President Park Geun-hye meet briefly at the United Nations (UN) on the sidelines of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly.

: Eighth round of negotiations (Chief Delegates Meetings) on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among Japan, China, and South Korea is held in Beijing.

: Second trilateral Agricultural Ministers Meeting is held in Tokyo bringing together South Korean Agricultural Minister Lee Dong-phil, Chinese Vice Agriculture Minister Chen Xiaohua, and Japanese Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa.

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