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Korea and Japan Dig in for Fight
By Lee Ha-won, Jeong Woo-sang
July 17, 2019 10:02
Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday officially rejected Japan's proposal for a third-country arbitration panel to mediate in a spat over compensation for wartime forced labor victims.
Japan in turn refused to consider Seoul's proposal to set up a fund paid for by businesses from both countries to compensate the victims.
The refusals came a day after President Moon Jae-in proposed to find an "amicable" solution to implement Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate the victims and seizing the companies' Korean assets.
Tokyo has warned of further retaliation after curbing exports of high-tech materials and Seoul is apparently hunkering down for a prolonged fight.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Japan has explained to Korea that the export curbs are not "retaliatory" in nature, but aimed at safeguarding "national security."
Earlier this month, the Japanese government defended the fresh export curbs on materials that are vital to South Korean IT giants with its right to "properly manage the exports of technology that can be converted into weapons and other uses."
[Japan SK] [Forced labour] [Sanctions] [Pretext]
Ships Smuggling N.Korean Coal 'Entered Japanese Ports'
July 17, 2019 11:30
The National Intelligence Service on Tuesday said ships that are believed to be smuggling North Korean coal have repeatedly been spotted entering and leaving Japanese ports.
Members of the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee quoted an NIS officer as saying that some ships that were banned from South Korean ports docked in Japanese ports instead.
The NIS verified with vessel trackers that the Sierra Leone-registered Rich Glory and Belize-registered Shining Rich and Jin Long entered Japanese ports. It said the South Korean government informed Japan of the violations several times but Tokyo did nothing and allowed the vessels to dock.
Seoul refrained from lodging complaints in consideration of bilateral relations, the officer claimed.
Asked by lawmakers whether there were instances of Japanese strategic materials being smuggled to North Korea, the officers said, "We can't reveal details at this stage, but there will be areas that could be revealed if Japan makes things worse," according to Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Min-ki.
Japan earlier claimed that it curbed exports of three vital high-tech materials to South Korea for fear that they could be illegally exported to the North. But it later emerged that a UN panel overseeing sanctions against the North repeatedly pulled up Japan for illegally exporting strategic materials to North Korea.
[Japan SK] [Forced labour] [Sanctions] [Diversion]
Forced Labor Victims Seize Mitsubishi Heavy's Assets in Korea
By Yang Eun-kyoung, Roh Suk-jo
July 17, 2019 10:52
Korean victims of forced labor during World War II said Tuesday that they are taking steps to seize and sell Korea assets of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries after the Japanese company refused to comply with an order to compensate them.
The victims and surviving families repeatedly asked Mitsubishi to negotiate about the compensation, but by Monday's deadline the company had not replied.
Already, Korean assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal and Nachi-Fujikoshi have been frozen to compensate forced labor victims. The Japanese government has threatened retaliation should Mitsubishi Heavy's assets in Korea be seized.
The victims said in a statement, "We requested talks with Mitsubishi for six months after the court ruling... but they refused to even apologize until the deadline."
"We will apply for authorization to sell Mitsubishi's assets in the near future," they added. "As [Mitsubishi Heavy] continues to avoid taking responsibility, three victims died this year of old age and others are falling ill. We hope this problem can be resolved soon."
The Supreme Court last November ordered Mitsubishi to pay a total of W500 million to five victims of forced labor (US$1=W1,179). Around W800 million of Mitsubishi's Korean assets, including two trademarks and six copyright licenses, have been seized.
Japan protested immediately, with Foreign Minister Taro Kono telling reporters that his government will take "necessary measures" if Japanese businesses suffer damage. Kono added that Japan "strongly urges" the Korean government not to let that happen.
[Forced labour] [Japan SK]
Blue House rejects Japan’s proposal for third-party arbitration on forced labor issue
Posted on : Jul.17,2019 17:56 KST Modified on : Jul.17,2019 17:56 KST
“We can’t accept anything other than a plan that the victims agree to”
The Blue House
Japan’s proposal to set up a third-party arbitration board on the issue of compensation to survivors of forced labor mobilization during Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea is not acceptable, the Blue House said.
Two days before the July 18 deadline for a response on the third-party arbitration board plan proposed by Japan, a key Blue House official said on July 16 that there would be “no particular response” by July 18.
“We cannot accept [Japan’s proposal],” the official said.
The same official added, “In the absence of any changes with the Japanese government’s export controls, we cannot additionally consider methods of resolution that the victims do not agree to.”
[Japan SK] [Forced Labour] [US]
Vessels that violated UN sanctions on N. Korea regularly visited Japanese ports, NIS says
Posted on : Jul.17,2019 17:48 KST Modified on : Jul.17,2019 17:48 KST
Japan failed to respond to S. Korea’s requests for response measures
National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Suh Hoon during a meeting of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee on July 16.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported to the National Assembly that vessels suspected of violating UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea have periodically visited Japanese ports, but that the Japanese government has not taken appropriate action in response.
Lee Hye-hoon, chairperson of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee and a lawmaker for the Bareunmirae Party, quoted NIS Director Suh Hoon as saying in a closed-door report to the Intelligence Committee on July 16 that the South Korean government had “made repeated requests in connection with vessels violating UN resolutions on North Korea sanctions,” but that “Japan has not taken appropriate measures, citing inadequacies in domestic law.”
An NIS examination of websites providing information on oceangoing vessels confirmed that vessels suspected of violating UN resolutions on North Korea sanctions – including the Rich Glory, Shining Rich, and Jin Long – had continued visiting Japanese ports including Naha and Noshiro until recently, Suh
[Japan SK] [Forced Labour] [Sanctions] [NK] [Diversion]
Chinese man who smuggled one bottle of North Korean beer into Japan charged for breaching sanctions
Teenager concealed a bottle of Taedonggang beer in luggage before boarding a flight from Shanghai to Japan, in the hope of selling it for a premium online
Japan has a blanket ban on all imports from North Korea, as part of unilateral economic sanctions over abductions and missile tests
Published: 3:15pm, 15 Jul, 2019
A Chinese resident of Japan 
has been charged with violating the foreign trade law for importing a single bottle of North Korean 
The 19-year-old man, who has not been named because he is a youth under Japanese law, has been charged with concealing a bottle of Taedonggang beer in his luggage before boarding a flight from Shanghai to Saga Airport, in southern Japan, in October last year.
According to documents filed with the Fukuoka District Public Prosecutors’ Office, the man did not declare the item to authorities and failed to obtain approval from the trade ministry to bring it into Japan, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.
The unemployed man, who lives in Fukuoka, reportedly told police: “I thought [North Korean beer] could be sold at a high price.”
[Japan] [Sanctions] [Bizarre]
Japan Threatens Further Retaliation
By Kim Seong-min
July 15, 2019 09:43
Japan on Saturday threatened more retaliation unless Korea agrees to resolve a dispute over compensations for wartime forced-labor victims through a third-country arbitration panel.
The Yomiuri Shimbun quoted a senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official as saying Korea's refusal to refer the matter to third-country arbitration would be construed as a "violation of international law" and prompt Japan to take "responsive measures."
Japan has already slapped restrictions on exports of three materials that are vital to Korean producers of microchips, smartphones and TVs, and shipments of hydrogen fluoride had been halted for 10 days as of Sunday.
Cheong Wa Dae's deputy national security adviser Kim Hyun-chong talks to reporters on arrival at Incheon International Airport on Sunday.
A first bilateral meeting in Tokyo on Friday to address the export curbs got off to a bad start, with both sides accusing the other of lying.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy here, Japan claimed at the meeting that it has no intention of leaving Korea off a "whitelist" of countries that do not require individual permits each time they want to buy three core materials.
Diplomatic sources said Japan is rumored to have rejected a U.S. proposal to hold a three-party meeting with Korea.
Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has again refused to comply with a Korean court ruling to compensate Korean victims of forced labor. A court here has authorized the seizure of Mitsubishi's Korean assets by Monday if the company does not comply with the order.
Kim Hyun-chong, Cheong Wa Dae's deputy national security adviser, returned from Washington on Sunday and said he did not ask the U.S. to mediate in the dispute. But he added, "The U.S. will play a role if needed."
Korea and Japan will face off once again at a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva from July 23 to 24.
[Japan SK] [Forced labour] [Sanctions]
Japan Exported Missile, Drone Components to N.Korea
July 15, 2019 10:38
A UN panel monitoring sanctions against North Korea has warned Japan repeatedly over the last nine years against exporting sensitive products to North Korea that could be used to make weapons.
On Feb. 7, 2015, North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun featured a photograph of a missile being fired from a warship. According to the UN panel, the ship's radar was made in Japan. Also, a North Korean drone that crashed on Baeknyeong Island in March 2014 contained a Japanese camera and remote-control receiver, and two other drones flown by the North that crashed in Samcheok, Gangwon Province in October 2013 and in Paju, Gyeonggi Province in March 2014 also contained engines, gyro stabilization components, server drivers, cameras and batteries that were made in Japan.
When the Hwaseong-12 mid-range ballistic missiles North Korea launched in August and September of 2017 were transported to their launch pads, the North used cranes that also appear to have been made in Japan, the UN said. The UN panel also pointed to 18 Lexus sedans, 10,000 cigarettes, 12 bottles of Japanese sake and 93 pianos that were sent to North Korea.
Bareun Mirae Party lawmaker Ha Tae-keung also cited a Sankei Shimbun report from March 2009 that suggested that Japanese magnets and electronic microscopes were smuggled into North Korea.
At that time, the Sankei cited Japanese police as saying the products were only the "tip of the iceberg" and Japanese businesses are highly likely to have assisted North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
"It is nonsense that Japan should accuse South Korea of aiding North Korea's weapons program and tying the issue to [South Korea-Japan] trade," Ha said. "Japan is hardly innocent when it comes to aiding North Korea’s nuclear weapons development."
[Japan NK] [Sanctions] [Dual use]
Japanese denies implying N. Korea as reason for export controls
Posted on : Jul.15,2019 17:42 KST Modified on : Jul.15,2019 17:42 KST
Sudden reversal of attitude indicates Tokyo’s shift in official stance
The first round of working-levels talks between South Korea and Japan regarding the latter’s recent export controls on July 12 in Tokyo. Representing South Korea are Chun Chan-soo, chief of trade security in the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, and Han Cheol-hee, chief of its trade (right side). Representing Japan are Iwamatsu Jun, trade management chief of the Trade Ministry; and Igari Katsuro, security trade management chief.
The Japanese government explained that the “inappropriate issues” it cited as a reason for its controls on South Korean exports were not a reference to smuggling to North Korea.
The remarks suggest that Japan is adopting a different stance in official settings after numerous remarks from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other political figures suggesting the control measures were related to North Korea. According to the South Korean side, previous remarks could also be interpreted as indicating that the reasons behind the policies regulating exports to South Korea stem from problems with Japan’s own export management.
[Japan SK] [Forced labour] [Sanctions] [NK pretext]
S. Korea’s export regulations more strict than Japan’s
Posted on : Jul.15,2019 17:38 KST Modified on : Jul.15,2019 17:38 KST
A look into both countries export regulations reveals absurdity of Abe’s justifications
Comparing catch-all systems of S. Korea and Japan
As Japan proceeds with steps to remove South Korea from the white list of countries that enjoy fast processing of or partial exemption from export restrictions on products that could potentially be used to develop or manufacture weapons, the Hankyoreh has learned that South Korea’s “catch-all” system, which Japan has cited as the reason for its removal from the white list, is actually stricter than Japan’s. South Korean exporters are obliged to determine the end use and user of their exports and to report that information to the government, but Japan’s system is laxer. For example, Japanese companies aren’t obliged to report exports related to conventional weaponry. Critics say that Japan is quibbling in order to justify its export controls on South Korea while also avoiding the appearance of violating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
[Japan SK] [NK sanctions]
Many items used to develop weaponry in N. Korea imported from Japan
Posted on : Jul.15,2019 17:46 KST Modified on : Jul.15,2019 17:46 KST
Recent findings on source of weapons development materials reveal fallacy of Abe’s justifications for export controls
A photo released by the UN Security Sanctions Committee on North Korea showing a warship radar which was found to be have been produced in Japan. (Yonhap News)
Despite Japan citing problems with South Korea’s controls on the exportation of strategic goods as a reason for pursuing regulations on exports of semiconductor materials and parts to South Korea, more and more examples are surfacing of items subject to sanctions or used for the development of nuclear weapons and missile having been exported to North Korea from Japan itself.
In annual reports published over the past few years, an expert panel for the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea has commented numerous times on examples of items that are subject to sanctions or could be diverted into military use being exported from Japan to North Korea. According to the expert panel, the warship radar pictured in a photograph of an anti-ship missile test-launch published by North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Feb. 7, 2015, was determined to have been produced by a Japanese company.
[Japan SK] [Forced labour] [Sanctions] [NK]
Moon warns Japan of bigger damage
Posted : 2019-07-15 17:38
Updated : 2019-07-15 17:51
President Moon Jae-in speaks about his government's resolve to deal with the trade dispute with Japan during a meeting with senior aides at Cheong Wa Dae, Monday. Yonhap
By Do Je-hae
President Moon Jae-in said Monday that Japan was inflicting a serious challenge to his government by linking sanctions against North Korea with its recent export restrictions targeting South Korean companies.
The President warned that Japan would end up with more damage from its economic retaliation against a ruling by the Supreme Court here that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Koreans forced to work for them during Tokyo's colonial rule of the peninsula.
In yet another highly critical public message, Moon called on Japan to drop the false claims it is making against Korea to justify the export curbs and return to diplomatic negotiations.
[Japan SK] [Forced labour] [Moon Jae-in]
Abe jeopardizes S. Korea-US-Japan security cooperation
Posted : 2019-07-15 17:17
Updated : 2019-07-15 18:46
Seen above is a United Nations Security Council report in 2016 that shows Japan's illegal export of radars to North Korea. The photo, released by the North's propaganda Rodong Sinmun on Feb. 7, 2015, shows a North Korean warship.
By Lee Min-hyung
The Japanese government is threatening the cornerstone of security in Northeast Asia ? the United States-initiated trilateral system on which both South Korea and Japan rely ? as Tokyo is suspected of selling sensitive materials and dual-use technology.
Earlier, Tokyo said Seoul had "illegally exported some sensitive components to Pyongyang" without providing evidence.
[Japan SK] [Forced labour]
N. Korean newspaper slams Japan for export curbs on S. Korea
Posted : 2019-07-14 16:06
Updated : 2019-07-14 17:22
Portraits of late North Korean leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il are seen on the facade of a government building in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sep. 10, 2018. Reuters
North Korea's official newspaper on Sunday denounced Japan's export restrictions against South Korea as an "unacceptable political provocation," as Tokyo raised accusations the South leaked sensitive industrial materials to the communist nation to justify the export curbs.
"What we cannot put up with is that the Japanese reactionary forces are trying to justify the economic retaliatory measure against South Korea by raising accusations against us," the Rodong Sinmun said. "This measure by Japanese authorities are obviously an unacceptable political provocation against us."
On July 4, Japan imposed restrictions on exports to South Korea of key materials used in semiconductor memory chips and smartphones in an apparent move against last year's ruling by Seoul's top court ordering Tokyo to compensate Korean wartime forced laborers.
Tokyo accused the South of violating U.N. sanctions on the North to justify the measure. Seoul flatly rejected the allegations, demanding that Tokyo agree to have an international panel of experts look into the allegations.
The North's paper said that the Japanese measure is "drawing criticism from home and aboard." (Yonhap)
[Japan SK] [Sanctions] [NK] [Forced labour]
U.S. Urges Allies to Send Warships to Gulf
By Lee Ha-won, Cho Yi-jun, Yang Seung-sik
July 12, 2019 12:50
The U.S. has asked Japan to join allied efforts to protect civilian oil tankers off the coast of Iran, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Thursday. The move comes as U.S. President Donald Trump limbers up for war with Iran, escalating the threat of clashes in the Strait of Hormuz.
Washington claims Iran was behind attacks on civilian tankers in the region last month, which Tehran denies. The government here said it has yet to receive a request from the U.S. to participate in the operation, but there are fears that the request will come soon.
Tokyo is considering the request. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami told reporters that Washington and Tokyo "have exchanged opinions" but declined to elaborate.
[Iran confrontation] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Alliance]
Most Japanese Support Export Restrictions Against Korea
By Lee Ha-won
July 10, 2019 10:24
Most Japanese support new export restrictions on materials vital to Korean IT giants in a surge of jingoistic sentiment in the island country amid never-ending historical spats between the two countries.
Major Japanese dailies criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's export restrictions announced on July 1, warning that they breach World Trade Organization rules and, due to the complexities of the supply chain, hurt Japanese business as well.
But the Japanese public is firmly behind the rare economic retaliation in a political spat.
TBS Television last weekend polled Japanese viewers and found that 58 percent support the restrictions and only 24 percent are against. An NHK poll showed 45 percent support and only nine percent against.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) and Finance Minister Taro Aso attend a Cabinet meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday. /Mainichi Shimbun
The Supreme Court here ruled last October that Korean forced labor victims can sue their Japanese employers despite a 1965 treaty that Japan says settled all claims in return for lump sum reparations. Lower courts have since ruled in their favor and authorized the seizure of the Korean assets of Japanese companies that refused to comply with compensation orders.
Tokyo now wants a third-country arbitration panel to resolve the dispute, but Korea has rejected the call and reported Japan to the WTO.
One diplomatic expert said the polls "express the views of the Japanese public about the perceived threat against Japanese businesses in the form of asset seizures when compensation for World War II atrocities have legally been settled."
Supporters feel the export curbs, which so far only mean that Korea has been taken off a "whitelist" of countries that do not need case-by-case approval for consignments, are a good idea even if they hurt Japanese exporters as well.
[Japan SK] [Forced labour] [Sanctions] [Public opinion] [Anti-Korean]
Putin says Japan’s Abe told him peace treaty proposal not possible
October 19, 2018 at 07:30 JST
SOCHI, Russia--Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told him Tokyo could not immediately sign a peace treaty with Moscow without first resolving their territorial dispute.
Putin, sitting alongside Abe at an economic forum in Vladivostok last month, proposed Japan and Russia conclude an unconditional peace treaty that would formally end World War Two hostilities between the two countries.
Russia and Japan have been in dispute for seven decades over island territories captured by Soviet troops in the last days of the war. As a result, they have still not formally ended hostilities.
Putin said he had discussed his proposal with Abe and that the Japanese prime minister had called the approach "unacceptable", adding "that we must first work out a principled decision on the territorial issues, and only then talk about a peace treaty."
Speaking at a forum in the Black Sea city of Sochi, Putin said Russia was still ready to work on finding a solution, but that trust-building was needed for a peace deal and that Japanese sanctions on Russia were not fostering trust.
[Russia Japan] [Peace Treaty]
Korea and Japan Lock Horns Over Export Restrictions
By Lee Ha-won, Choi Kyu-min, Lee Min-seok
July 05, 2019 11:01
Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday denounced Japanese export restrictions on materials vital to Korean IT giants as a "retaliatory" measure that "clearly violates World Trade Organization standards and international laws."
In a meeting that day, officials vowed to "pursue diplomatic responses including a complaint at the WTO," according to Cheong Wa Dae. It was the first response by the presidential office to the export curbs, which go into force Thursday and clearly caught the Korean government off guard.
Japan's Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko responded by saying any country has the right to "properly manage the exports of technology that can be converted into weapons and other uses." Seko added that Tokyo is not considering withdrawing the restrictions.
Japan on Monday announced it is striking Korea off a "whitelist" for exports of three core materials used to produce microchips, smartphones and televisions on which Japan has a virtual monopoly.
Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Yoon Do-han said, "We plan to explain to our major partners the unfairness of Japan's measures and the fact that they violate free trade principles." Yoon added that Cheong Wa Dae is seeking support from the U.S. and other allies and could try to neutralize Japan's moves by filing a complaint at the WTO.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier defended the export curbs by saying they were prompted by "broken trust in bilateral relations." This effectively confirms that they came as retaliation in a spat over compensation for Korean forced labor victims.
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki warned, "If Japan does not scrap the decision, we will come up with corresponding measures."
[Japan SK] [Sanctions] [Forced labour] [Dual use]
Trump Keeps Quiet as Korea and Japan Feud
By Roh Suk-jo
July 05, 2019 12:10
U.S. President Donald Trump has been conspicuously silent as a spat between Korea and Japan escalates.
"The U.S. has traditionally stepped in when tensions have become heated between two of Asia's largest economies as they all confront security threats from North Korea and the ever-expanding shadow of China's military in the region," Bloomberg wrote Thursday. But the Trump "administration has been conspicuously absent when his Asian allies bicker."
Trump visited Korea late last month after attending the G20 Summit in Osaka but made no remarks to ease the conflict triggered by Korean court rulings ordering Japanese companies to compensate victims of wartime forced labor late last year.
"This is starting down the road toward economic warfare, and it's very dangerous," Bloomberg quoted Daniel Sneider of Stanford University as commenting.
[Japan SK] [US dominance] [Trump]
Protestors Say “Yes” to Peace in Japan: Opposing the New Weapons Market Days in Chiba City
Protest against weapons marketing in Chiba City, Japan
By Joseph Essertier, June 21, 2019
Some people are actually happy about the “consistently increasing defence budgets” of recent years. One finds those words in the Exhibitor Prospectus for the weapons market in Japan called the “Maritime Air Systems & Technologies for Defense, Security, and Safety” (MAST Asia 2019). If military budgets for governments around the world continue to expand, then it may be true that Japan has a “unique environment in which business will abound”: the business of manufacturing and selling the weapons of war.
Perhaps by the word “unique,” they mean that Japanese weapons development was once held back by its peace constitution and largely anti-war populace, but Japan’s self-imposed ban on weapons sales to other countries was removed in 2014 . Under the ultranationalist government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan is remilitarizing at a breakneck pace. Hearing about MAST Asia 2019 in Chiba, Japan will be sad for many people in East Asia, where there are still people who feel the wounds inflicted on them by the Empire of Japan (1868-1947).
[Arms sales] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Seoul-Tokyo Discord Could Scupper Northeast Asia Summit
By Roh Suk-jo
July 03, 2019 12:21
Souring relations between Seoul and Tokyo are threatening to scupper the annual three-way Northeast Asia Summit that is held in Korea, China and Japan by turns.
This year's host China has yet to set a date.
"There was a plan in the pipeline to hold the summit in the first half of this year, but Tokyo expressed no intention to attend," a diplomatic source said on Tuesday. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the fixture.
According to the source, Beijing has told Seoul and Tokyo several times that it hopes to hold the summit as soon as possible. Korea accepted immediately, but Tokyo kept mum.
The gathering normally entails separate one-in-one meetings between the three leaders, but Japan is sulking over Korean courts' rulings ordering Japanese companies to compensate Korean forced labor victims.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe barely shook hands with President Moon Jae-in at the G20 Summit in Osaka last month.
S. Korea to file complaint to WTO regarding Japan’s economic retaliation
Posted on : Jul.2,2019 16:35 KST Modified on : Jul.2,2019 16:35 KST
Trade minister announces response in meeting on Tokyo’s export controls
South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry, and Energy Sung Yun-mo addresses Japan’s economic retaliatory measures at the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation in Seoul on July 1. (Yonhap News)
The South Korean government has decided to respond to Japan’s plan to impose export controls by taking the necessary measures, including lodging a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO).
South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry, and Energy Sung Yun-mo announced this during his opening remarks at a meeting assessing the export situation, held at the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation in Seoul on July 1.
“During a meeting this morning with the relevant ministers, we carefully reviewed the situation and our action plan. We will be taking the necessary measures moving forward, including filing a complaint with the WTO, in accordance with domestic and international law,” Sung said.
“The measures to restrict exports are not only prohibited in principle by WTO agreements, but they also run counter to the spirit of the declaration reached in the G20 summit hosted by Japan last week in which the participating countries said they would ‘strive to realize a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open.’”
By Kim Jin-cheol, staff reporter
[Japan SK] [Sanctions] [Export controls]
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Korea, Japan Urgently Need to Patch Things up
June 27, 2019 13:07
Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday confirmed that there will be no meeting between the Korean and Japanese leaders during the G20 Summit in Osaka. "We are ready to meet, but Japan does not seem to be ready," a Cheong Wa Dae official claimed. Earlier, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his schedule for bilateral meetings at the G20 is "full." Although Abe has time to meet one-on-one with the heads of 15 countries, he could not set aside even a few minutes for an informal "pull-aside" with President Moon Jae-in.
Korea-Japan relations have often been rocky, but something like this is unprecedented. Seoul-Tokyo relations soured last October, when the Korean Supreme Court ordered Japanese companies to compensate victims of forced labor during World War II and courts later authorized the seizure of the firms' Korean assets when they refused to comply.
The government here has also effectively voided a murky agreement struck by the previous administration to compensate victims of wartime sex slavery, which Tokyo insists must be honored. Adding fuel to fire is a spat over coat-trailing flybys of Japanese spy planes over South Korean patrol boats. Last week, Japan flatly rejected a proposal by Korea to have private companies from both sides contribute to a fund to compensate forced labor victims. When that same proposal was brought up late last year, Japan viewed it positively and it was Korea that said it was nonsense.
A top official in charge of Korea at the U.S. State Department said, "Honestly speaking, if Korea-Japan relations are rocky, negotiations with North Korea will not be successful." The comment should be taken seriously, but the Foreign Ministry told lawmakers that it intends to "maintain close communication channels with China and Russia" while leaving Japan out. The global diplomatic arena is no place for playground fights.
Japan Won't Invite Korea to Fleet Review
By Lee Ha-won, Jeon Soo-yong, Roh Suk-jo
June 27, 2019 09:52
Japan's Defense Ministry has decided not to invite Korea to a fleet review in October, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Wednesday.
Japan plans to invite other allies, including the U.S., Australia and India, as well as China, which is locked in a territorial dispute with Japan, to the fleet review on Oct. 14 in Sagami Bay near Tokyo.
For the last fleet review in Japan in 2015, Korea sent a Daejoyoung destroyer.
The decision is expected to exacerbate already icy bilateral relations. The leaders of Korea and Japan have no plans to meet each other at the upcoming G20 Summit in Osaka.
The main bone of contention is a ruling by Korea's Supreme Court earlier this year ordering Japanese businesses to compensate Korean victims of forced labor during World War II. Japan insists that all compensation claims were settled under a 1965 lump sum payment.
There are now concerns that the spat could prompt Japan to scrap an intelligence-sharing agreement with Korea that is up for review in August.
Businesses in both countries also fear the impact of deteriorating relations. Kim Yoon, chairman of the Korea Japan Economic Association, said in a seminar in Seoul on Wednesday, "Both governments need to listen to the concerns of the business community to prevent the situation from getting worse."
[Japan SK] [Japanese remilitarisation]
Blue House confirms no S. Korea-Japan summit in Osaka
Posted on : Jun.26,2019 17:11 KST Modified on : Jun.26,2019 17:11 KST
Discussions on S. Korea-Japan relations may happen after Japanese election
South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul (right) answers questions from lawmakers during a Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee plenary session at the National Assembly on June 25. (Kim Gyoung-ho, staff photographer)
The Blue House announced on June 25 that South Korean President Moon Jae-in will not hold a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the upcoming G20 summit, which is set to take place in Osaka on June 28-29. With a series of conflicts over a judgment by the South Korean Supreme Court in October last year regarding compensation for Korean victims of forced labor under the Japanese colonial occupation, the targeting radar incident, and the import of maritime products from Fukushima, Korea-Japan relations are forecasted to remain icy for the time being.
On this day, a senior official from the Blue House met with the press and said, “It does not appear that a Korea-Japan summit meeting will take place,” adding, “We are prepared to meet, but Japan does not seem to be ready. There was no response from the Japanese side.” However, he left the door open and put the ball in Japan’s court by saying, “If Japan requests a meeting at the venue [of the G20 summit], we can meet with Prime Minister Abe at any time.” Conflict over the judgment on compensation for victims of forced labor had a substantial impact on the failure to hold a summit meeting.
[Japan SK] [Japanese colonialism] [Forced labour]
Korea, Japan Fail to Agree to Summit at G20
By Lee Ha-won, Roh Suk-jo
June 24, 2019 11:17
The leaders of Korea and Japan will not meet one-on-one at the upcoming G20 Summit in Osaka, as neither side could be persuaded to budge amid a welter of bilateral spats.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Yomiuri TV on Saturday that his itinerary for bilateral meetings is "full."
In Korea, a senior government source said, "Our schedule for bilateral meetings at the G20 Summit is almost completely filled. There are many requests for one-on-one meetings."
The only realistic option now is for President Moon Jae-in and Abe to shake hands briefly as they pass by each other at the meeting.
Moon's summit schedule at the G20 meeting involves the leaders of Canada, China, Indonesia and Russia. Until last week, Cheong Wa Dae officials said "the door is still open" for a Moon-Abe meeting, but now even an informal "pull-aside" seems unlikely.
[Japan SK] [Stalemate] [G20]
Korea, Japan in Muddle Over Leaders' Meeting
By Roh Suk-jo
June 21, 2019 12:07
Korea and Japan are still in disarray over the minutiae of a meeting between their leaders on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka next week.
Amid a welter of recent spats, neither country wants to be seen to be holding a formal summit, and sticklers on both protocol-obsessed sides are trying to figure out a meeting that would somehow not be a summit.
The Foreign Ministry official here on Thursday said an informal pull-aside, perhaps with both President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ostentatiously standing up, could be arranged "even 30 minutes in advance."
"I understand that no countries have made official announcements on their summits" with the host country "until now," the ministry official claimed. That may be because other countries are less obsessed with the minutiae of what does or does not constitute a "summit" as long as their leaders have a chat. But in fact the U.S., Russia and other countries have already arranged bilateral meetings with Abe on the sidelines.
"The idea of arranging a summit only 30 minutes in advance is wrong in the first place at a time when bilateral relations with Tokyo are at their worst," a former senior diplomat said. "Thirty minutes isn't enough even for a sudden meeting with a close friend."
The previous day, Tokyo turned down a proposal for setting up a fund financed by businesses in the two countries to compensate Korean victims of forced labor during World War II.
The proposal was apparently made in haste to placate Washington, which is putting pressure on Seoul to make up with Japan or risk hurting its interests in the region. Korean court orders for Japanese employers to compensate their Korean forced laborers are only one of the spats that divide the neighbors.
The government here faces growing criticism over the proposal, which had apparently not been discussed with either the victims or the Korean businesses that are supposed to cough up.
[Japan SK] [US dominance] [Forced labour]
100th Anniversary of the 3/1 Korean Independence Movement and Okinawa
Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Editor, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
“Here, our people demand that Japan and each nation of the world provide us an opportunity for self-determination. We hereby declare that if our demand is not met, we will attempt to achieve independence by taking free action for our people’s survival.”
These are the concluding sentences of the 2/8 Independence Declaration, dated February 8, 1919, drafted by a group of Korean students who were studying in Japan when Korea was under Japan’s colonial rule. The declaration sparked the 3/1 Independence Movement three weeks later in their homeland. I had the opportunity to attend a 100th anniversary ceremony for the declaration held at the Korean YMCA in Tokyo on February 8, 2019.
[March1st Movement] [Japanese colonialism]
Japan Rules out Fund for Forced Labor Victims
By Lee Ha-won
June 20, 2019 11:59
Japan has rejected a proposal from Korea to set up a fund financed by businesses in both countries to compensate Korean victims of forced labor during World War II.
Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young apparently traveled to Japan earlier this week to discuss the proposal and a bilateral summit. But Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono rejected the offer by saying, "It cannot rectify situations that violate the legal foundations of Korean-Japan relations," referring to a 1965 treaty normalizing bilateral relations in return for a lump sum payment.
Forced labor victims hope for renewed discussions between Seoul and Tokyo
Posted on : Jun.20,2019 16:18 KST Modified on : Jun.20,2019 16:18 KST
Civic groups and attorneys criticize lack of S. Korean government’s demand for apology
Forced labor victims and their families celebrate their victory in a lawsuit against Mitsubishi in a Supreme Court case on Nov. 29, 2018. (Park Jong-shik, staff photographer)
The South Korean government’s announcement of plans to use funding from South Korean and Japanese companies to compensate survivors of forced labor mobilization with finalized court rulings in their favor prompted the survivors’ legal representatives and support groups to express their hope that the two governments will now agree to proactive discussions to resolve the forced mobilization issue in light of the victims’ advanced age.
At the same time, they voiced concerns about the government’s omission of a reference to Japan “acknowledging the historical facts” and “offering a heartfelt apology.”
Soon after the announcement of the “South Korean government’s position on the forced mobilization rulings” by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on June 19, a position was shared by the survivors’ legal representatives and the group Daegu Citizens’ Forum for Halmuni, the Center for Historical Truth and Justice, and the Association for Requesting Compensation for the Pacific War Victims.
S. Korean government offers proposal for compensating forced labor victims
Posted on : Jun.20,2019 16:15 KST Modified on : Jun.20,2019 16:15 KST
Japanese government announces rejection
South Korean victims of forced labor and their attorneys and Japanese activists head to the headquarters of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal in Tokyo to demand compensation for victims on Dec. 4, 2018. (Hankyoreh archives)
The South Korean government has proposed to Japan that the victims of forced labor during the Japanese colonial occupation be compensated through voluntary donations by South Korean and Japanese companies. With Japan opposing the South Korean Supreme Court’s ruling on forced labor in October 2018 and instigating a public debate, both domestically and internationally, about that ruling, the South Korean government has come up with its own alternative, effectively leaving the ball in Japan’s court. The Japanese government has announced that it rejects this proposal.[Forced labour]
Abe-Trump smiles mask the coming anger.
(Nikkei Asian Review 30.5.2019)
Posted on 12 June 2019
Donald Trump visited Tokyo for four days (25-28 May) intending to cement his “unshakable bond” with Shinzo Abe. Instead, the visit showcased why their unlikely bromance is headed for trouble.
Visually, all went as planned. The golf outing, the audience with new Emperor Naruhito, the sumo and the naval base visits were real. But mentally the U.S. president’s mind proved to be thousands of miles away from his gracious Japanese hosts — in ways that bode ill for upcoming trade talks.
Trump’s only unshakable bond was with his angry Twitter feed. While in Tokyo, he took to that platform to unload on China, the European Union and his possible 2020 election opponent Joe Biden. He also cozied up to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In doing so, Trump put Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s team in a thankless and awkward position.
Even in person, Trump and Abe talked past one another more than they shared a common hymn sheet. While they celebrated, in Abe’s words, a “rock solid” friendship that is “closest in the whole world,” the sense of diverging interests was impossible to ignore.
[Trump] [Abe Shinzo] [US Japan] [Friction]
Moon, Abe to Hold 'Informal' Meeting at G20 Summit
By Lee Ha-won, Ahn Jun-yong
June 13, 2019 12:05
Japan plans to arrange an informal "pull-aside" between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Korean President Moon Jae-in during the G20 summit in Osaka later this month, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.
The two sides are not on speaking terms but are grudgingly caving in to pressure from the U.S., which worries that icy relations between its chief allies could harm its interest in Northeast Asia.
[Japan SK] [US dominance]
Students protest Japan’s military expansion in front of embassy
Posted on : Jun.13,2019 15:50 KST Modified on : Jun.13,2019 15:50 KST
The student organization Peace a Butterfly Network, formed to support victims of sexual slavery under the Japanese imperial military and to protest the Park Geun-hye’s Administration’s 2015 comfort women agreement with Japan. The activist group gathered in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on June 12, this time to protest Japan’s military expansion. For the first time since the end of WWII, Japan is enhancing the offensive capabilities of its military, which had previously served an exclusively defensive role. The move has been approved by the US in its campaign to deter Chinese influence in the Asia Pacific region. (Kang Chang-kwang, staff photographer)
[Japanese Remilitarisation] [Protest]
When Women Perform Hate Speech: Gender, Patriotism, and Social Empowerment in Japan
June 1, 2019
Volume 17 | Issue 11 | Number 1
Triggered by globalization, internationalization, and multiculturalism, Japanese ultra-nationalist groups spread hate targeting Zainichi Koreans and other minorities. The focus of this paper is not the traditional manifestation of hate speech between the socially powerful and the seemingly powerless, but women who openly perform hate speech in the name of love of country. It examines Japanese women’s groups whose objective is to nurture patriotic awareness under the guise of sustaining culture and tradition. They discover a sense of legitimate social empowerment aiming to restore “historical truth” and uphold their country’s honor and dignity for their children’s sake.
Keywords: Hate Speech, Comfort Women, Zainichi, Nihon Josei no Kai Soyokaze, Aikoku Josei no Tsudoi Hanadokei, Nadeshiko Akushon (Action)
A Dealmaker Trump Tees Up His Game of Trade War
By Yoichiro Sato
Yoichiro Sato (email@example.com) is dean of international cooperation and research at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.
US President Donald Trump’s state visit to Tokyo ended without either concrete agreement or public pronouncement of specific disagreements on trade. While credit for this silence has been given to Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s well-planned entertainment offensive for the president, including a visit to the sumo tournament, a round of golf, a meeting with the new emperor, and a visit to Japan’s naval destroyer, signs are visible that Trump has “teed up” his “America First” trade negotiation.
[Trump] [US Japan] [Trade]
North Korea snubs Abe's summit proposal
Posted : 2019-06-03 17:39
Updated : 2019-06-03 18:01
U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe react during delivering a speech to Japanese and U.S. troops as they aboard Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's (JMSDF) helicopter carrier DDH-184 Kaga at JMSDF Yokosuka base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, May 28. AP-Yonhap
By Kim Yoo-chul
North Korea rejected a summit proposal by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, calling the suggestion a "brazen-faced" move, Monday.
A spokesman from the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said: "If Japan wants to talk about 'the right judgment and decision,' then that's exactly what we want to tell them," citing recent remarks by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.
Kono hinted at supporting "sanctions-easing" only after the North made "the right judgment and decision,"
The spokesman continued: "Now, Japan is required to make a bold decision. They need to write a new history, and admit to the wrongdoings that Japan committed. The thickness of the skin of Abe's group is like a bear's paw as Japan wants to hold a summit with us without preconditions."
The remarks, made in an interview with the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), were released Monday.
[Japan NK] [Abe Shinzo] [Kono Taro] [Sanctions]
Moon, Abe Won't Sit Down Together at G20 Summit
By Lee Ha-won, Roh Suk-jo
May 31, 2019 13:42
President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not sit down together on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka in June.
Abe's schedule has already been whittled down to minutes, a source in Tokyo said on Thursday, and there is no slot in it for Moon. The two countries are divided by a welter of spats over historical and other issues.
According to Kyodo News, participants in a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Wednesday urged Abe not to meet with Moon.
Kenji Kanasugi of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau told participants, "Leaders of 37 countries and international organizations are attending the G20 summit. Abe will prioritize bilateral meetings with foreign leaders."
[Japan SK] [Sidelined]
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[Editorial] Japan should reflect on its past before expanding its military capability
Posted on : May.30,2019 15:02 KST Modified on : May.30,2019 15:02 KST
US President Donald Trump salutes troops aboard the USS Wasp in Yokosuka, Japan, on May 28. (AFP)
On May 28, the leaders of Japan and the US highlighted their “global alliance” by boarding the JS Kaga, a Japanese helicopter destroyer that’s slated to be retrofitted as Japan’s first aircraft carrier since World War II. The event is taken as symbolic evidence that the two leaders are in agreement about the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) taking a bigger part in military activities in the Indo-Pacific region, alongside the US military.
This effectively spells the end of Japan’s principle of an exclusively defense-oriented military, which had been the foundation of Japan’s postwar security, with the effect of making Japan’s neighbors more uneasy and putting them on their guard. We feel compelled to voice our strong concern about Japan’s effort to increase its military role without adequately reckoning with its militarism and wars of aggression in the previous century. It’s also unfortunate that US President Donald Trump appears to be publicly backing Japan’s attempts to return to its former military strength.
[Japanese remilitarisation] [Liberal]
Japanese court denies request to remove Korean names from Yasukuni Shrine
Posted : 2019-05-29 17:17
Updated : 2019-05-29 17:36
By Kim Jae-heun
A Japanese court has denied a request by 27 Korean people to remove the names of their family members from the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. The shrine honors Japan's war dead, including Class A war criminals.
It took five years and seven months for the Tokyo District Court to make a decision on the lawsuit filed in September 2013. The court did not offer an explanation for its decision. Moreover, it ordered the plaintiffs to cover the trial costs.
According to Kyodo News, Tuesday, the court did not accept the plaintiffs' claim that the enshrinement damaged the deceased Koreans' honor, saying their enshrinement has not been made public, which leaves no chance for it to become known to unspecified individuals.
[Japanese colonialism] [Yasukuni]
Chilled Ties with Japan Hurt Korean Businesses
By Chae Sung-jin
May 27, 2019 11:22
More than half of all Korean companies that do business in Japan have suffered amid soured diplomatic relations between Seoul and Tokyo.
They complain of tougher customs requirements such as extra documentation and delayed processing times, or that their success rates at public bids had declined markedly.
The findings come from a study by the Federation of Korean Industries out Sunday, which found that 53.1 percent of Korean businesses in Japan complained about negative effects of deteriorating bilateral relations.
[Japan SK] [Friction]
Japan requests formation of arbitration committee for forced labor ruling
Posted on : May.21,2019 17:11 KST Modified on : May.21,2019 17:11 KST
Tokyo continues to cite 1965 claims treaty as solution
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
The Japanese government has asked the South Korean government to set up an arbitration committee to deal with a judicial decision awarding damages to Koreans who performed forced labor for Japanese companies during Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea.
“More than four months have passed since we requested [bilateral] deliberations based on our claims agreement on Jan. 9. Despite repeating this request several times, the South Korean government has declined to take part in the deliberations. In accordance with our agreement, we have notified South Korea that we are referring this matter to an arbitration committee,” Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on May 20.
[Japanese colonialism] [Forced Labour] [Japan SK] [Abe Shinzo]
Haruki Murakami admits his father was a Japanese soldier in unit that executed Chinese POWs
Posted on : May.12,2019 16:53 KST Modified on : May.12,2019 16:53 KST
Globally renowned Japanese novelist addresses importance of facing history
Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami
“Needless to say, the barbaric sight of a human head getting cut off by a military sword was deeply etched into my young mind.”
Haruki Murakami, 70, one of Japan’s leading writers, disclosed that his father had served as a soldier during Japan’s imperial period. The admission appears in a 29-page autobiographical essay titled “Abandoning A Cat: What I Talk About When I Talk About My Father,” published in the June issue of monthly magazine Bungei Shunju.
Murakami explains that his father had been drafted in 1938, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and deployed to China. While Murakami was in elementary school, he writes, his father told him how a Chinese POW had been executed by the unit he was attached to. His father served two more tours with the military and then worked as a teacher after World War II.
[Japanese colonialism] [War crimes] [Sino-Japanese war] [Nanjing]
N.Korea 'Wants Entry Ban Lifted Before Summit with Abe'
By Lee Ha-won
May 09, 2019 13:53
North Korea wants Japan to lift an entry ban for North Koreans as a precondition for a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Tokyo Shimbun reported Wednesday citing a North Korea source.
The demand comes after Abe said he will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un without any strings attached.
The source told the daily that if the two countries are to improve bilateral relations and build trust, free human exchanges should come first. "People from both sides should be allowed to travel freely before the two leaders meet," the source said.
Japan has banned people with North Korean passports from entering the country since February 2016, when the North launched a ballistic missile.
[Japan NK] [Summit]
Japanese foreign minister threatens countermeasure if Japanese companies suffer damage
Posted on : May.7,2019 16:45 KST Modified on : May.7,2019 16:45 KST
Taro Kono says “legal foundation” of S. Korea-Japan relations are in danger
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono
Japan’s top diplomat said the country will quickly impose countermeasures if Japanese companies suffer any actual damage from the compensation that South Korean courts have awarded Koreans drafted for forced labor under Japan’s colonial occupation, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.
“The legal foundation for Japan-South Korea relations is on the verge of being damaged. This is an issue that the South Korean government needs to deal with responsibly,” said Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono during an interview with NHK on May 5.
“If Japanese companies suffer any real harm because of the South Korean government’s action, Japan will swiftly take the necessary measures,” said Kono, who was on a visit to Ethiopia at the time.
On May 1, the team of attorneys representing victims of forced labor petitioned a court to issue an order to liquidate stock held by the accused companies, one being Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal and the other being Nachi-Fujikoshi. The plaintiffs want these companies’ stock, which has already been put under attachment, to be converted to cash so that they can receive the damages awarded by South Korea’s Supreme Court.
The Japanese government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have discussed various kinds of retaliation, including limiting bank remittances and the issuance of visas to South Korean citizens and companies.
Kono also criticized South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha for remarks she made on May 2 implying that the compensation procedure is under the jurisdiction of the judicial branch and that the executive branch should not intervene. “I’m not talking about [the executive branch] intervening in the judicial branch. South Korea needs to deal with this issue properly,” Kono said.
Kono didn’t specify when the Japanese government would move forward with its retaliation. The steps required to sell the stock and convert it to cash are expected to take about three months. The Japanese press predicts that Japanese retaliation would take place after the liquidation of the stock is complete.
By Cho Ki-weon, Tokyo correspondent
[Japanese colonialism] [False labour] [Reparations] [Kono]
Tokyo Warns Against Selling Japanese Firms' Korean Assets
By Lee Ha-won
May 07, 2019 13:58
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Monday warned Seoul to prevent the sell-off of the Korean assets of Japanese companies that have refused to comply with Korean court orders to compensate forced labor victims.
Kono told NHK during a visit to Ethiopia on Sunday that such moves will "damage the legal foundation" of bilateral relations.
Taro Kono /NHK
Last October, Tokyo refused to accept the Korean Supreme Court's ruling that a Japanese company should compensate its forced labor victims, while urging Seoul to respect a 1965 agreement that Tokyo claims settled all claims of the victims of wartime atrocities.
[Japan SK] [Forced Labour] [Kono]
Korean fans slam TWICE member for comments on Japanese reign changeover
Posted : 2019-05-01 13:49
Updated : 2019-05-01 18:04
By Oh Young-jin
Sana, a Japanese member of Korea's JYP agency's nine-member girl band TWICE, is in hot water for comments on the changeover of her country's ceremonial head of state.
The Japanese call the holder of the throne emperor, while Koreans, still rankled by its 36-year colonial occupation, call him a Japanese king.
[SK Japan] [Imperial system] [Japanese colonialism]
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US agrees to defend Japan from cyberattacks
Posted on : Apr.22,2019 17:35 KST Modified on : Apr.22,2019 17:35 KST
US-Japan Security Consultative Committee releases new interpretation of bilateral security treaty
Acting United States Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanhan (far right), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Japan Foreign Minister Taro Kono, and Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya hold a joint press conference in Washington, DC, on Apr. 19. (Xinhua News Agency)
For the first time, the US and Japan have interpreted Article 5 of their security treaty, which stipulates the US’ duty to defend Japan, as covering cyberattacks on Japan.
Following a “two plus two” meeting of the two countries’ top diplomats and defense officials on Apr. 19, the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee released a joint statement containing this interpretation.
“A cyberattack could, in certain circumstances, constitute an armed attack for the purposes of Article V of the US-Japan Security Treaty,” the two countries said in the joint statement. This was the first time that cyberattacks have been explicitly interpreted as being one of the attacks that could trigger Article 5 of the US-Japan Security Treaty.
[US Japan Alliance] [Cyberwar]
Seoul Threatened Tokyo Over Flybys on East Sea
By Yang Seung-sik, Ahn Jun-yong
April 23, 2019 12:48
South Korea warned Japan that it will turn on firing radars should Japanese maritime patrol planes ever again approach within 5.5 km of South Korean warships after a series of unexplained fly-bys near the Dokdo islets in the East Sea.
Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported Monday that the South Korean Defense Ministry sent the warning to its Japanese counterpart in January, when the spat flared up.
The spat erupted in December, when Japan claimed that a South Korean Navy destroyer had turned its fire-control radar on a Japanese spy plane flying overhead while the destroyer was on a mission to rescue a North Korean fishing boat.
[Japan SK] [Territorial disputes] [Dokdo] [Bluster]
Every day except Sundays, holidays and typhoon days, Okinawans confront the US military at Henoko, site of a planned new base
Douglas Lummis and Higa Tami
March 29, 2019
Volume 17 | Issue 8 | Number 3
Every day except for Sundays, holidays and typhoon days hundreds of huge dump trucks enter the US Marine Corps’ Camp Schwab at Henoko, in northern Okinawa, carrying landfill – dirt, sand, stones – and dump it into the sea offshore from the base. Eventually, they hope, they will be able to dump enough to support an airstrip on top of the pile, and transform Schwab from a camp into a superbase. Every day except for Sundays, holidays and typhoon days, Okinawans and their supporters from Japan and abroad carry out a sit-in at the gate aimed at preventing, or at least slowing, the entry of these trucks. This sit-in has continued now for more than 1700 days – possibly qualifying for the Guinness Book, if anyone would take the trouble to make the application.
[Okinawa] [Bases] [Protest]
Japan Cancels Plans for New Embassy in Korea
By Lee Dong-hwi
April 10, 2019 11:43
The Japanese government has scrapped plans it has been pursuing since 2013 to build a new embassy in Korea.
Tokyo wanted to replace an old building dating from 1976 in Jongno, Seoul that has already been demolished with a new six-story structure.
But the Jongno District Office last month canceled the building permit it issued to the embassy in 2015. A district official said, "The Japanese Embassy agreed to the cancellation in a meeting in late February, saying it did not get the green light from its government."
By law, construction must start within a year of the building permit being issued, but delays are accepted if a valid reason is given. The district office sent several letters to the Japanese Embassy last year reminding it to start construction or risk cancellation of the permit, and asked it to give reasons for the delay. But there was no response until the embassy gave up on the plans.
The site of the Japanese Embassy in Jongno, Seoul lies empty on April 5, 2019.
The Japanese government owns the 2,382 sq.m plot and can seek another building permit, but that will take at least another year, and until then the site remains empty. In the meantime the embassy has moved into an office high-riser nearby.
The cancellation reflects the dire state of bilateral relations, and a row over a statue honoring wartime sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army in front of the old embassy remains unresolved.
Asked for a comment, the Japanese Foreign Ministry only said, "We will review and adjust our plans for the new embassy considering various circumstances."
More Forced Labor Victims to Sue Japanese Firms
April 09, 2019 12:28
Some 537 Korean victims have joined a class-action suit against Japanese companies that forced them to labor for them in World War II, an advocacy group in Daegu said Monday.
The group, which also supports victims of wartime sexual slavery, said it will file the suit in Gwangju at the end of this month.
A study by the Prime Minister's Office has tallied the number of forced labor victims at around 140,000, which means more lawsuits can be expected.
The Japanese government is furious that Korean courts have recognized the claims for victims in a couple of cases and authorized the seizure of Japanese companies' assets here.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday once again called for the Korean government to take proper action when he was visited by outgoing Korean Ambassador Lee Su-hoon. Tokyo insists all compensation claims were settled by a lump sum payment in 1965.
Tokyo has also threatened retaliatory measures like punitive tariffs on Korean exports should the former forced laborers go ahead and sell the companies' assets. Seoul has not responded to Tokyo's calls for talks saying it respects the courts' decisions.
"We are preparing to deal with all possible measures taken by Japan," a Foreign Ministry official said.
The problem looks increasingly intractable since Abe needs to shore up his rightwing support base and Japan seems incapable of coming to terms with its war crimes, while Korean anger has become highly ritualized.
Lee Won-duk at Kookmin University said, "It appears as if the government is ignoring the problem, but it will become increasingly difficult to look the other way once the scale of the lawsuits grows and Japan takes concrete retaliatory steps."
Lee warned the case may even be taken to the International Court of Justice. "We are not in a disadvantageous position," he added. "We could gain valuable time by taking the case to the ICJ and seek to normalize ties with Japan once the political climate changes."
[Japanese colonialism] [Forced Labour] [ICJ]
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Contested Pilgrimage: Shikoku Henro and Dark Tourism
March 11, 2019
Volume 17 | Issue 6 | Number 1
The origins of Japanese Buddhism can be traced back to the early sixth century, when the king of Paekche, occupying the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula, sent a small bronze statue and Buddhist texts as part of a diplomatic mission to the Japanese court. This cultural exchange marked the beginning of a leading religion that would continue to develop over the following centuries in Japan. Approximately fourteen centuries later in 2013, Shikoku Henro, a famous pilgrimage circuit that visits eighty-eight Buddhist temples around the fourth largest island of Japan, became a site of national controversy when a racist organization posted signs along the route that read, “Let us protect our precious pilgrimage route from the hands of chosenjin (Koreans).” A site with cultural and religious bonds, forged in a historic diplomatic exchange between the two countries, has instead become celebrated as a “traditional” heritage site—one structured around notions of chauvinism and cultural exclusion. Using the controversy at this location in 2013 as the starting point, my paper examines the ways in which the Shikoku pilgrimage route was presented to the public, and the ensuing claims on the emotional landscape of this site by local, national and international bodies. More than a simple story of Japanese national pride, the dark history of Shikoku Henro reveals complicated circumstances that culminated in the 2013 controversy involving a Korean pilgrim and her journey.
[Buddhism] [Korea Japan] [Racism]
Introduction [to series on Dark Tourism]
March 11, 2019
Volume 17 | Issue 6 | Number 1
I. Why study “dark tourism”?
A sidebar controversy to the intense debate of 2015 on how Japan’s leaders would mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II sparked my interest in the phenomenon of “dark tourism,” defined in brief as touristic interest in sites associated with death, disaster and atrocity. The practice of dark tourism, with focus mainly on the creation of dark tourist sites and the messages they convey (or fail to convey), is the concern of the three papers to follow.
A Marxist Sherlock Holmes: Ito Ken and the Proletarian Detective in 1920s Shanghai
March 11, 2019
Volume 17 | Issue 6 | Number 6
Ito Ken (1895-1945), a proletarian writer, stated in 1930 that his collection of short stories Shanhai Yawa (Shanghai Night Stories) was intended to be a “detective and proletarian like popular novel.” But how can a proletarian writer with a Marxist worldview change an a-political genre such as the detective story into a weapon of proletarian literature? Could a Marxist detective reveal the crimes of capital? Examining Ito’s journalistic articles and fiction within the context of mass media and detective fiction, I aim to show how Ito Ken tried to rework the detective genre into a form of proletarian literature.
Keywords: Ito Ken (1895-1945), proletarian literature, Shanghai, detective fiction, Edogawa Ranpo, Hirabayashi Hatsunosuke
When I published Arishima Takeo no geijutsu to shogai [The Art and Life of Arishima Takeo] in Taisho 15  a change in my life and thinking came about. Therefore, I’m submerged in research on history and science. I wrote mainly detective novels and proletarian popular novels. In Showa 2 , to cleanse my life and love, I went to Shanghai. Here I have met various Marxists and bohemians from around the world. […] I went to China again. This time finally, I captured the ideology. In that time, I tried to write a detective and proletarian like popular novel [tantei shosetsu to puroretaria-teki tsuzoku shosetsu]. The setting is mainly between Shanghai and every country in the world. Shanghai Yawa [Shanghai Night Stories] published by Heibonsha in Showa 4  is the [result] of this attempt.1
[Marxism] [Literature] [Detective fiction]
A Short History of Sushi
The Japanese dish of humble origins that conquered the world.
Alexander Lee | Published in History Today Volume 69 Issue 3 March 2019
Sushi.On the morning of 5 January 2019, gasps of amazement rippled through Tokyo’s cavernous fish market. In the first auction of the new year, Kiyoshi Kimura – the portly owner of a well-known chain of sushi restaurants – had paid a record ¥333.6 million (£2.5 million) for a 278kg bluefin tuna. Even he thought the price was exorbitant. A bluefin tuna that size would have normally cost him around ¥2.7 million (£18,700). At New Year, that could rise to around ¥40 million (£279,000). Back in 2013, he’d paid no less than ¥155.4 million (£1.09 million) for a 222kg specimen: a lot, to be sure. But still a lot less than what he’d just paid.
The silent majorities of Japan and South Korea grow tired of official squabbles
5 March 2019
Author: Yoshihide Soeya, Keio University
Many observers argue that Japan–South Korea relations are at their lowest point since diplomatic normalisation in 1965. The relationship appears marred by exchanges of emotional language, as both Tokyo and Seoul react to the statements and actions of the other with their own sense of justice and remain ignorant of or indifferent to the other side’s perspective. But while this may be the case at the official level, the views of the silent majority — ordinary Japanese and Koreans — suggest otherwise.
[Japan SK] [Japanese colonialism] [Public opinion]
Forced Labor Victims Demand Seizure of Mitsubishi Assets
By Kim Eun-jeong
March 08, 2019 12:55
Victims of forced labor during World War II have asked a court to seize the assets of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Korea, which failed to obey a Supreme Court ruling in November to compensate Korean victims.
According to victims' representatives, Yang Geum-deuk and three other victims of forced labor have asked a court to seize two trademarks and six patents in Korea held by Mitsubishi.
If it authorizes the seizure, the Japanese company will not be allowed to sell the patented rights without consent from the victims.
Another Korean court in January authorized the seizure of assets held in Korea by Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, which had also failed to pay between W100 million and W150 million each to a group of victims (US$1=W1,129).
Tokyo is furious at the move and insists that all compensation claims were settled under a 1965 treaty normalizing diplomatic relations in return for a lump sum payment, but the Supreme Court here last year ruled that the treaty cannot override individual victims' claims.
[Japanese colonialism] [Forced labour]
Lack of progress at Trump-Kim summit will have mixed impact on China, South Korea and Japan
by Tomoyuki Tachikawa
Mar 1, 2019
HANOI - The fruitless U.S.-North Korea summit will have a mixed impact on China, South Korea and Japan, each of which has different strategic interests at stake.
The two-day summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to yield any written agreement, sparking concern that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will not be realized in the near future.
Foreign affairs experts say that China is not altogether displeased in the outcome, since it is keen to continue playing a pivotal role in East Asia, and that South Korea is disappointed because it will likely face difficulties in deepening economic cooperation with the North amid tight international sanctions on its neighbor.
Japan remains threatened by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles without being able to find an opening for breaking the deadlock in bilateral relations, they added.
In early 2018, Kim suddenly started pledging to attain “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and putting more emphasis on revitalizing the economy than on bolstering the armed forces.
Dogged by the sanctions that have dragged down its economy, North Korea has made diplomatic overtures to China, South Korea and the United States while discontinuing missile and nuclear tests.
[Hanoi summit] [Abortion] [Japan]
Abe's Military Base Plan for Okinawa Sinking in Mayonnaise: Implications for the U.S. Court and IUCN
March 1, 2019
Volume 17 | Issue 5 | Number 1
Abe Government's Reluctant Admission
After a long silence, the Abe government has finally admitted that the construction of a U.S. military base at Henoko-Oura Bay in Okinawa requires significant changes to the original land reclamation plan (see Asahi Shimbun). Parts of the seafloor of the construction site have proven to be extremely fragile, having the consistency of mayonnaise. To solidify the seafloor sufficiently to support a functional airport, a "sand compaction pile method" needs to be carried out (see this video for sand compaction pile method). Casing piles will be driven into the seafloor as deep as 60 meters (or 90 meters below the water surface), and the piles, which are hollow, will be filled from the top with sand and other compacting materials. Then the piles are raised or removed slowly leaving the compacting materials in the form of a pillar, thus solidifying the seafloor. This procedure is to be repeated 76,000 times, implanting 76,000 compacting pillars in the seafloor (see Ryukyu Shimpo).
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EDITORIAL: Henoko project clearly doomed; time to open talks with U.S.
February 23, 2019 at 14:00 JST
The government’s plan to relocate a U.S. military base in Okinawa Prefecture is clearly in tatters, despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s insistence that it is the “only solution.”
Despite fierce local opposition, the Abe administration has been forging ahead with the controversial plan to build a new base in the Henoko district of the Okinawan city of Nago to replace the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which sits in the middle of the crowded city of Ginowan within the prefecture.
[Okinawa] [Bases] [US Japan alliance]
Japan Threatens Economic Retaliation Against Korea
By Lee Ha-won, Choi Seung-hyun
February 18, 2019 11:17
The Japanese government is considering economic retaliation against Korea if it seizes the Korean assets of Nippon Steel to compensate Korean forced labor victims.
The steps could include halting exports of key materials needed to manufacture semiconductors and defense products. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun daily on Saturday reported calls by Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party to limit exports of defense-related materials to Korea.
Some LDP lawmakers are even calling for the scrapping of a visa-waiver with Korea and limiting work visas for Korean nationals, or suggesting punitive tariffs similar to those slammed by U.S. President Donald Trump on China.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (right) meets with her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday. /Yonhap
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met in Munich on Friday to resolve the diplomatic impasse but were unable to agree on the main sticking points. A Foreign Ministry official here said, "We continue to monitor the situation and plan to minimize conflict with a cool-headed approach."
A Korean court recently ordered the seizure of Nippon Steel assets in Korea after the Japanese firm' headquarters failed to compensate Korean forced labor victims under a ruling by the Supreme Court.
Japan contends that all compensation claims for wartime atrocities were settled under a 1965 lump sum payment, but courts here have held that a treaty between states cannot overrule individual claims.
[Japan SK] [Forced labour] [Friction]
Japanese Document Sheds New Light on Korean Queen's Murder
January 12, 2005 19:23
Empress Myeongseong faces her death at the hands of Japanese thugs with dignity in a scene from the KBS drama "Epress Myeongseong."
Newly-released Japanese material provides important information about the notorious 1895 murder of Empress Myeongseong -- also known as Queen Min -- by Japanese thugs. The material reveals that although it is commonly believed that the empress was killed in her bedroom, she was actually dragged outdoors and publicly hacked to death with a sword.
On Wednesday, Seoul National University history professor Lee Tae-jin released a secret document on the murder of Empress Myeongseong that he discovered at the Record Office of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The five-page report, written by the Japanese consul in Seoul at the time, was composed after investigation at the crime scene and sent back to Japan on Jan. 4, 1896, no more than three months after the incident. Analysts say the report is therefore highly credible.
It says Japanese thugs broke into the Gyeongbok Palace through the Geoncheong-gung north of the Hyangwon-jeong pavilion, where the king and queen slept. There report also indicates the place where the empress's body was temporarily displayed and where it was later burned. The route taken by the killers is shown on a detailed map of the Gyeongbok Palace, with the Japanese entering through Gwanghwamun -- the front gate of the palace -- passing to the left of Gyeonghoe-ru pavilion and entering the Geoncheong-gung.
[Japanese colonialism] [Queen Min]
Let’s Change the Way We Relate To the Korean Peninsula
Start: March 02, 2019• 1:30 PM
With the 100th anniversary of the start of the Korean independence movement known as the “March 1st Movement” this year, a famous writer and scholar of literature in Japan, who is a Zainichi (resident) Korean named Suh Kyung Sik (???), will give a lecture on the relationship between Japanese and Koreans from a broad perspective, touching on the history of the colonialism of the Empire of Japan, the Korean War, and other historical issues. After the lecture there will be a candlelight demo. Please join us to learn more about Korea and Koreans, and to show your solidarity with those seeking the end of the Korean War and peace in Northeast Asia.
[Zainichi] [Peace effort]
Can Abe get Japan back on the North Korea bus?
6 February 2019
Author: Yoshihide Soeya, Keio University
In the current flurry of summitry involving North Korea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s generally hardline approach makes Japan the odd man out. But that trend is beginning to change.
At the UN General Assembly in September 2017, Abe outlined his hardline approach to North Korea in no uncertain terms: ‘Again and again, attempts to resolve issues through dialogue have all come to naught … What is needed … is not dialogue, but pressure’. A year later at the 2018 assembly, the same Abe said that he is now ‘ready to break the shell of mutual distrust with North Korea’ and ‘meet face to face with Chairman Kim Jong-un’.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in shake hands as they attend the ASEM leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, 19 October 2018 (Reuters/Francois Lenoir).
This striking shift in attitude was seemingly caused by the three summits that took place in the first half of 2018: between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April, Moon and Abe in May, and Kim and US President Donald Trump in June.
[Japan NK] [Abe Shinzo] [Sidelined]
WBW News: The Inspiration of Okinawa
Report Back from Protests at U.S. Military Base in Okinawa, Japan
By Joe Essertier, Chapter Coordinator, Japan for a World BEYOND War
What a contrast: the violence of the U.S. and Japan alongside the people’s struggle for peace and justice. The solidarity and cooperation. The inspiring activists. Non-violent, direct action—I have not seen it in action with my own eyes, not on TV or in a documentary, on this level before. I sense that the Uchina people (Uchina is the indigenous name for “Okinawa”) have won the respect of the police. It is thanks to them that the police don’t carry any weapons. Not a club or a gun in sight. Lots of angry words you hear spoken, on both sides. But almost no physical violence, besides the violence of stolen land and the violence against the animals in the sea. None of the Japanese police smile. Not one. The only people smiling are the American troops standing and watching, sometimes pointing at us and laughing.
The people of Okinawa never agreed to the development of foreign military bases on their land, yet it has been occupied by the U.S. military since WWII.
Okinawa and the US Military Link to PFAS Toxins
February 7, 2019
The Japanese island hosting U.S. military bases and training sites is a forerunner in exposing the contamination, writes Pat Elder.
Fire-Fighting Exercises Spread ‘Forever Chemicals’
By Pat Elder
World BEYOND War
Contaminants are being detected in water samplings in communities adjacent to U.S. military installations around the world. One forerunning example—publicized more than five years ago—is the Japanese island of Okinawa, which hosts 32 U.S. bases and 48 training sites.
In 2013, The Japan Times published an exposé about the high concentrations of toxins generically known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in the drinking water in Okinawa communities adjacent to Kadena Air Base and the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
[Okinawa] [USFJ] [Pollution]
Tokyo Cancels Frigate's Port Call in Busan
By Yang Seung-sik
February 07, 2019 13:20
Tokyo has cancelled a plan to send the navy frigate Izumo to a multinational maritime drill in Busan in April and May after a recent radar spat with Korea over Japanese surveillance aircrafts' flybys.
"It's important to act in a way that ensures that the relations between the two countries moves in a constructive way," a Japanese Defense Ministry spokesman said. "After a review, Japan has concluded that it's most appropriate to respond to the situation this way."
On Jan. 27, the Korean Navy indefinitely postponed a visit to a Japanese naval base scheduled for this month.
[Japan SK] [Japanese remilitarisation] [Izumo]
[Interview] “Abe should apologize like a leader should”
Posted on : Jan.31,2019 17:20 KST Modified on : Jan.31,2019 17:20 KST
Former US Congressman Mike Honda vows to continue fighting on comfort women issue
Honda sits next to the late Kim Bok-dong, comfort woman survivor and peace activist who passed away on Jan. 28, during a Wednesday Demonstration in Seoul in October 2017. (Hankyoreh archives)
“Kim Bok-dong was a strong woman with a strong spirit, which is why I always went to pay my respects whenever I was in South Korea,”
This was how how former US Congressman Mike Honda, 77, responded to the news that former comfort woman and peace activist Kim Bok-dong had passed away Jan. 28. In 2007, Honda led the House of Representatives resolution for rectifying the comfort women issue. During his tenure in the House of Representatives (from 2001 to 2017), Honda, who is of Japanese ancestry, fought tirelessly with the Japanese government on the comfort women issue, demanding a genuine apology. Honda, who is currently in Ethiopia, and despite the fact that it was almost midnight in local time when he was contacted on Jan. 29, agreed to a phone interview, describing the news as “important.” He directly referred to Kim Bok-dong as “Grandmother Kim Bok-dong” in Korean.
The former congressman said, “I am very sad that Grandmother Kim passed away without receiving an apology from the Japanese government,” adding, “Now, there are only 23 [victims] left in South Korea. Now, more than ever, is the time to keep fighting for an apology from the Japanese government.”
The former congressman has also been a frequent participant in the weekly Wednesday Demonstrations, held in Seoul in front of the Japanese Embassy. Kim was present at the demonstrations in October 2017, but when Honda visited in November she was hospitalized.
“When I went to see her at the hospital, she thanked me for coming, and as we parted, asked that I teach [Japanese Prime Minister] Abe a lesson,” Honda said. “It was a request to receive an apology from him, no matter what.”
”Grandmother Kim may have passed away, but she is watching over us, expecting us to keep fighting without giving up,” he added.
[Abe Shinzo] [Comfort women]
[Obituary] A lifetime of struggling for peace and justice
Posted on : Jan.30,2019 16:13 KST Modified on : Jan.30,2019 16:13 KST
Comfort woman survivor Kim Bok-dong leaves behind a tragic but inspiring legacy
Former comfort woman turned peace activist Kim Bok-dong
Kim Bok-dong was born in 1926 in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province. After completing the fourth grade of elementary school, she helped out with household chores until the age of 15. Her mother had told her stay close to home because “the times were strange.”
One day in 1941 – she can’t remember if it was the spring or the fall – Japanese people in yellow uniforms without rank badges came to her house, accompanied by her village leader and another official. Kim was told she needed to work for three years at a factory making army uniforms – and if she didn’t go, her family would be kicked out of their house and their property seized.
Figuring that it wouldn’t kill her to work at a factory, Kim told her mother she would go. At the age of 15, she was taken to Taiwan and then on to a Japanese military unit based in China’s Guangdong Province. How different her life would have been if she hadn’t gone with the Japanese back in 1941!
At 10:41 pm on Jan. 28, Kim Bok-dong – former comfort woman (sex slave) for the Japanese imperial army and later a peace activist – closed her eyes for the last time, without ever receiving an apology from the Japanese government. She was 93 years old.
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U.S. to Deploy New Radar in Japan
By Lee Ha-won
January 29, 2019 13:33
The U.S. is seeking to deploy its most state-of-the-art radar in Japan to step up defenses against missile attacks from North Korea, Russia, and China, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Monday.
Washington wants to start formal talks with the Abe administration soon to deploy the "Homeland Defense Radar," in Japan, it quoted sources as saying.
Currently the U.S. maintains only a ground-based missile defense system in Alaska and California to defend its mainland. But it is getting more difficult to detect signs of hostile overseas launches after China developed new intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be fired from mobile launchers.
In the 2019 Missile Defense Review a few weeks ago, U.S. President Donald Trump stressed the importance of strengthening America’s missile defenses and cited the threat of ICBMs from North Korea, China and Russia.
The radar the U.S. wants to deploy in Japan would be capable of detecting ICBMs flying towards the U.S. mainland, Hawaii or Guam. The information would then be shared with the Japanese military.
The Washington-Tokyo alliance is getting stronger even as rifts appear in Washington’s alliance with Seoul over cost-sharing and sanctions against North Korea.
The Abe administration decided early this month to buy Mageshima, an uninhabited island in Kagoshima Prefecture, for 14 billion yen for U.S. aircraft carriers to conduct drills there.
Until recently, U.S. aircraft carried out most landing and take-off drills on the Ogasawara Islands in the South Pacific, but that is considered too far away.
[China Confrontation] [Radar] [Japan]
Abe Drops S.Korea from Annual Policy Speech
By Lee Ha-won
January 29, 2019 13:30
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe omitted a passage on relations with South Korea from his annual policy speech at the opening of the Diet on Monday.
The two countries are at daggers drawn in a spat over coat-trailing flybys of Japanese spy planes over South Korean warships. Another problem is a recent ruling by the Supreme Court here ordering a Japanese steelmaker to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks in the Diet in Tokyo on Monday. /AFP-Yonhap
Abe elaborated on Tokyo's ties with the U.S., China, Russia, North Korea, as well as the Middle East and Africa, but omitted the customary reference to South Korea as the country's "most important neighbor."
[Japan SK] [Abe Shinzo]
Japan’s recent actions explained by its need for a new enemy
Posted on : Jan.28,2019 18:36 KST Modified on : Jan.28,2019 18:36 KST
The Abe administration relies on fear of neighboring countries to consolidate power
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
On Sept. 18, 1931, Seishiro Itagaki and Kanji Ishiwara, officers in Japan’s Kwantung Army, staged an explosion at a section of the Manchurian Railroad running through Liutiao, near the Chinese city of Mukden (today Shenyang, Liaoning Province). Next, the officers alleged that the explosion had been the act of Chinese troops under Zhang Xueliang and initiated military operations that resulted in the conquest of Manchuria. The Great Depression had thrown Japan into turmoil, and Japan sought to escape that crisis by invading other countries. Subsequently, all of East Asia was engulfed in the flames of war.
On Dec. 20, 2018, a Japanese naval patrol plane buzzed South Korean destroyer ROKS Gwanggaeto the Great while it was performing rescue operations for a North Korean fishing ship in distress. After this threatening flyby, Japan launched an international public relations war, posting a video criticizing South Korea for aiming its fire control radar at the patrol plane. Then on Jan. 18, 22 and 23, Japanese patrol planes made more threatening flybys near South Korean naval vessels.
Japan’s actions have been brazen.
[Japan SK] [Friction]
Japan postpones arrival of JS Izumo destroyer at Busan for ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting
Posted on : Jan.28,2019 18:26 KST Modified on : Jan.28,2019 18:26 KST
Multilateral naval exercises still schedule for April
The Japanese helicopter carrier JS Izumo
The Japanese government is postponing the scheduled Port of Busan arrival of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) helicopter carrier JS Izumo over its conflict with South Korea regarding low-altitude flybys and the use of radar, Japanese news outlets reported on Jan. 27.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense had initially planned to have a convoy including the Izumo at Busan for this spring’s ADMM-Plus ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting in South Korea. Multilateral naval exercises have also been scheduled to take place this April in the waters around South Korea.
[Japan SK] [Friction] [Seapower] [Izumo]
Japanese PM pushes for summit with North Korean leader to break 'mutual distrust'
Posted : 2019-01-28 14:58
Updated : 2019-01-28 14:58
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a policy speech at the start of the extraordinary Diet session in Tokyo on January 28, 2019. AFP
Japan's prime minister vowed Monday to "break the shell of mutual distrust" with North Korea by meeting leader Kim Jong Un face-to-face and restoring diplomatic relations between the two historic foes.
In a major policy speech to mark the opening of parliament, Shinzo Abe also vowed to push Sino-Japan ties "to a new stage" and pledged a record budget to improve crumbling infrastructure in the world's third-biggest economy.
"I will act resolutely, never failing to seize every opportunity to break the shell of mutual distrust, and I myself will directly face Chairman Kim Jong Un next to resolve North Korea's nuclear and missile issues, as well as the abductions issue," Abe said.
Abe gave no timeframe for a potential meeting with the North Korean leader but the comments came as Kim has ordered preparation for a second summit with US President Donald Trump, likely towards the end of next month.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japan NK]
Military Could Send Chopper to Block Japanese Flybys
By Lee Ha-won, Yang Seung-sik
January 25, 2019 13:53
The military is considering sending a helicopter to respond to any further Japanese spy planes buzzing Korean warships. The chopper would block the flight path of any Japanese patrol plane if it came close to a Korean destroyer, as happened on several occasions in the past few weeks.
The idea was mooted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a briefing of the ruling Minjoo Party on Thursday.
After a meeting of the National Security Council at Cheong Wa Dae the same day, an official said, "We're very concerned about the repeated threateningly close flybys of Japanese patrol aircraft and decided to respond firmly to prevent a recurrence.”
[Japan SK] [Friction]
S. Korean Defense Ministry releases photos of Japanese patrol plane’s threatening flyby
Posted on : Jan.25,2019 16:11 KST Modified on : Jan.25,2019 16:11 KST
Photographic evidence rebukes Japanese claims and signal that South Korea won’t ease pressure
Radar data showing the Japanese patrol aircraft flew at an altitude of 200 feet (60-70m) as it approached the ROKS Dae Jo-yeong.
On Jan. 24, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) released photographs of a radar monitor that depicts the altitude of a Japanese patrol plane during a threatening flyby on Jan. 23 and its distance from the South Korean destroyer ROKS Dae Jo-yeong. Seoul released this evidence immediately after the Japanese Defense Ministry denied that its patrol plane had conducted a threatening flyby.
This appears to be both a rebuttal of Japanese claims and a signal that South Korea won’t ease pressure. Japan responded to the release of the photographs with a rebuttal of its own, but did not provide any specific evidence.
The South Korean Defense Ministry released a total of two photographs of the radio monitor. Figures visible in the photos indicate that the Japanese plane approached within 540m of the Dae Jo-yeong while flying at an altitude of 60-70m.
[Japan SK] [Friction]
Abe seeks to mobilize anti-Korean sentiment among Japanese for political gains
Posted on : Jan.25,2019 16:02 KST Modified on : Jan.25,2019 16:02 KST
S. Korea-Japan dispute appears to continue for long term
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
The fact that Japanese maritime patrol planes have made threatening flybys over South Korean naval vessels on no fewer than three occasions over the past week is unprecedented in South Korea-Japan relations. The two countries have been tied together by the US network of alliances in East Asia, and there’s little precedent of a military disagreement between them blowing up so publicly since they concluded their basic treaty in 1965. As the dispute expands to include targeting radars and threatening flybys, observers are wondering about what is motivating the Japanese government and the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
One of Abe’s apparent goals is to mobilize frustration with South Korea inside Japan after a ruling about compensation for forced laborers by South Korea’s Supreme Court, while also pressuring the South Korean government into taking action. After South Korean victims of forced labor took steps to seize assets that Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal holds in South Korea, the Japanese government made a request on Jan. 9 for intergovernmental deliberations with South Korea, as stipulated in the dispute resolution procedures of a South Korea-Japan claims agreement, and asked the South Korean government to reply by Jan. 30.
[Abe Shinzo] [Japan SK] [Friction] [Anti-Korean]
Korea Slams 'Provocative' Japanese Flyby
By Yang Seung-sik
January 24, 2019 10:12
The Defense Ministry on Wednesday condemned as "an explicit provocation" a Japanese spy plane flying too close to a 4,500-ton Korean Navy destroyer near the submerged rocks of Ieo in Korea's territorial line in the East China Sea.
"Around 2:03 p.m. today, a Japanese patrol plane performed a threatening maneuver over the Daejoyoung by flying only about 540 m away and at an altitude of just 60-70 m in waters near Ieo, despite being capable of clearly identifying the warship," Suh Wook of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters.
[Japan SK] [Friction]
Arirang TV airs documentary on North Korea’s former comfort women
Posted on : Jan.24,2019 15:57 KST Modified on : Jan.24,2019 15:57 KST
Arirang TV aired a documentary on North Korean victims of sexual slavery, referred to as the “comfort women,” under the Japanese military during colonial occupation, on Jan. 24. Korean-Japanese writer Kim Yeong, who has documented and researched former comfort women in North Korea for the past 18 years, and photographer Ahn Se-hong, who has devoted his work to comfort women issues throughout Asia for the past 20 years, contributed greatly to the documentary. There are currently 219 women who are registered under the North Korean government as former comfort women. (provided by Arirang TV)
Japan backs out of working-level talks with S. Korean on patrol aircraft flyby
Posted on : Jan.22,2019 17:26 KST Modified on : Jan.22,2019 17:26 KST
Tokyo appears to have determined it lacks the evidence to refute Seoul’s position
On Jan. 21, the Japanese Ministry of Defense released files of “fire-control radar detection noise” and “search radar noise” it claimed to have been picked up by the patrol aircraft during its low-altitude flyby near the South Korean Gwanggaeto the Great destroyer.
The Japanese government unilaterally declared a halt on Jan. 21 to discussions with South Korea after previously claiming that the South Korean destroyer Gwanggaeto the Great targeted a Japanese patrol aircraft with signal tracking and illuminating radar (STIR).
With its declaration, Japan appears to have bowed out of the discussions after determining that it did not have the concrete evidence needed to refute South Korea’s consistently maintained position.
Later that evening, the Japanese Ministry of Defense posted a statement on its website titled “A Final Opinion on the South Korean Navy Destroyer’s Targeting of the Self-Defense Forces with Fire-Control Radar.”
“As South Korea has not demonstrated a willingness to objectively and neutrally acknowledge the facts based on the principle of reciprocity, we do not believe that the truth will come to light even if the working-level discussions continue,” the statement read.
“We have determined that we cannot continue these discussions with South Korea,” it continued.
[Japan SK] [Friction]
South Korea condemns Japanese warplane's 'provocative' close-range flight
Posted : 2019-01-23 16:43
Updated : 2019-01-23 16:43
South Korea's military on Wednesday strongly condemned a Japanese warplane's low-altitude flight close to a South Korean warship, calling it a "provocative act."
At 2:03 p.m., the Maritime Self-Defense Force's patrol plane flew close to the Navy ship at an altitude of 60 to 70 meters just 540 meters away near Ieodo, a submerged rock south of Korea's southern island of Jeju, it said.
[Japan SK] [Friction]
South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers to hold talks in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 23
Posted on : Jan.20,2019 16:42 KST Modified on : Jan.20,2019 16:42 KST
Bilateral talks unlikely to produce much in the way of clear outcomes
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (left) and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono meeting during the former’s visit to Japan on Dec. 19, 2017.
Attempts are under way to organize bilateral talks between South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in the Swiss town of Davos on Jan. 23.
The NHK network and other Japanese media reported on Jan. 18 that efforts were under way to organize the bilateral talks while the two foreign ministers are attending the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (Davos Forum). Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the talks were “currently being coordinated.” If the meeting does happen, it will be the first foreign minister talks between the two sides since a South Korean Supreme Court decision in late October ordered a Japanese company to pay compensation for forced conscription of Korean workers during the colonial occupation.
Japan lashes out at S. Korea for “attempting to shift responsibility” for forced labor victims
Posted on : Jan.12,2019 16:53 KST Modified on : Jan.12,2019 16:53 KST
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga criticizes Moon’s New Year’s remarks
The Japanese government criticized South Korea for “attempting to shift responsibility” following President Moon Jae-in’s criticisms of Japan’s approach to the issue of damages for forced labor conscription in his recent New Year’s press conference.
Speaking in his own regular press conference on Jan. 11, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “The  Japan-South Korean Claims Settlement Agreement is binding for all parties involved [in the agreement’s signing], including the judiciary.”
“The moment the South Korean Supreme Court’s ruling [ordering damages to be paid to forced labor mobilization victims] was finalized last year, a state of violation of that agreement was created. Responsibility for correcting that state of violation obviously lies with South Korea,” he continued.
[Japanese colonialism] [Forced Labour] [Japan SK]
Japan Protests Against Ruling to Seize Steelmaker's Assets
By Lee Ha-won
January 10, 2019 12:36
The Japanese government on Wednesday protested against a court ruling here to seize the Korean assets of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal at the request of forced labor victims.
Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba summoned Korean Ambassador Lee Su-hoon to lodge a formal protest and demand talks about a 1965 treaty normalizing diplomatic relations in return for a lump sum compensation.
Korean Ambassador Lee-Su-hoon answers questions from reporters at the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo on Wednesday. /Yonhap
The Daegu District Court on Tuesday authorized the seizure of Nippon Steel's shares in POSCO-Nippon Steel RFH (PNR), a joint venture specializing in recycling by-products from steel making, after the Japanese company failed to pay compensation to the victims ordered by the Supreme Court here last October.
[Japanese colonialism] [Forced Labour]
Weekly Protest for Former Sex Slaves Marks 27th Anniversary
January 10, 2019 09:01
Some 200 people braved subzero temperatures in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Wednesday to mark the 27th anniversary of protests for women forced into sexual slavery by Imperial Japan.
The protesters along with some surviving victims are still demanding that Japan officially admit responsibility. But they are also calling on the Korean government to put more efforts into resolving the issue of wartime sex slavery through diplomatic channels.
Out of 240 registered victims in Korea, only 25 are still alive. Eight victims died last year alone, but the issue continues to flare up as Tokyo's efforts to settle the matter without admitting full responsibility keep exacerbating the problem.
[Editorial] Controversy over Japanese patrol plane should not undermine S. Korea-Japan relations
Posted on : Jan.7,2019 17:46 KST Modified on : Jan.7,2019 17:46 KST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds a press conference at Ise Grand Shrine in Japan’s Mie Prefecture on Jan. 4. (Yonhap News)
The dispute between South Korea and Japan is being aggravated by a Japanese patrol plane’s close approach to a South Korean naval vessel and by the issue of compensation for Korean victims of forced labor during the Japanese colonial occupation. After South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) posted a video explaining the patrol plane incident, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force issued a rebuttal that may make the dispute escalate into a brawl between Korean and Japanese netizens.
Furthermore, the Japanese government is protesting a request filed by the victims of forced labor for a Japanese company’s South Korean assets to be seized in lieu of compensation and appears to be preparing to take the issue to an international court. This situation can’t be seen as desirable in consideration of the future of South Korea-Japan relations.
[Japan SK] [Liberal]
Defense Ministry release video refuting Japan’s claims regarding patrol plane
Posted on : Jan.5,2019 17:54 KST Modified on : Jan.5,2019 17:54 KST
YouTube video characterizes plane’s approach as “threatening low-altitude flight”
On Jan. 4, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) uploaded a video on YouTube regarding a Japanese patrol plane’s approach to South Korean destroyer Gwanggaeteo the Great during a rescue operation of a North Korean fishing boat, describing the plane’s flyby as a” threatening low-altitude flight.” (MND YouTube page)
On Jan. 4, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) released a video in which a Japanese patrol plane’s approach to South Korean destroyer Gwanggaeto the Great while it was performing a rescue operation is characterized as a “threatening low-altitude flight” and in which Japan is asked to apologize. Seoul has taken issue with the patrol plane’s “ungentlemanly conduct” while rebutting the Japanese government’s argument that Gwanggaeto the Great aimed its fire control radar at the patrol plane.
At 2 pm on Friday, the MND posted a video, 4 minutes and 26 seconds in length, to YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGWO4Kdk5j0) titled “The Position of the Republic of Korea Regarding False Claims and the Threatening Low-Altitude Flight by the Japanese Maritime Patrol Plane.”
A tough year ahead for Mr. Abe
By Brad Glosserman
Brad Glosserman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is deputy director of and visiting professor at the Center for Rule-Making Strategies, Tama University, and senior advisor (nonresident) for Pacific Forum. His study on the future of Japan, Peak Japan, will be published by Georgetown University Press this spring.
Abe Shinzo has begun the seventh year of his second stint as prime minister of Japan, and will, if he continues in office, become Japan’s longest-serving postwar prime minister in August, and the longest-serving PM ever in November. Despite an impressive record, governing is not getting easier. Indeed, 2019 may prove to be the most daunting of his tenure. Considerable political skills will help Abe surmount challenges in the year ahead, but two other factors may prove decisive: the lack of a credible replacement (both from his ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the opposition) and the belief that his experience is vital at a time of geopolitical churn.
Forced Labor Victims Could Claim Japanese Firm's Korean Assets
January 02, 2019 11:32
When the Supreme Court here last October ordered Nippon Steel to pay W100 million each to four Korean forced labor victims, many predicted that there would be no way to force the company to pay up (US$1=W1,114).
But lawyers for the victims have tracked down Nippon Steel's property in Korea and asked a court to seize it based on the Supreme Court ruling.
Earlier, the Japanese government threatened to seize Korean property in Japan if the Japanese company's property was seized here. Diplomatic friction is therefore expected to continue over the matter.
Nippon Steel's property in Korea includes its share of POSCO-Nippon Steel RHF, a joint-venture recycling business established in 2008. Nippon Steel holds about 2.34 million stocks worth about W11 billion.
Lawyers for the victims visited Nippon Steel headquarters in Tokyo twice last year to ask them to comply with the Supreme Court ruling, but executives refused to see them. A recent meeting between bureau chiefs of the two countries' foreign ministries also failed to narrow the gap.
Nippon Steel also has a 3.32 percent stake or 2.89 million stocks in POSCO, but they take the form of American depositary receipts issued by a U.S. bank and their seizure would require U.S. court approval.
"Nothing can prevent the victims from asking a court to seize Nippon Steel's property in Korea," said Prof. Lee Won-duk of Kookmin University. "But it creates a huge diplomatic burden for the government here because there could be a string of further class action suits by victims."
[Japanese colonialism] [Forced labour]
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