Japanese holiday ‘celebrating’ disputed islands sparks backlash in South Korea

South Korean national police guard the Takeshima islands in pairs positioned at various lookout points. (Chico Harlan/The Washington Post)

Web users in both Japan and South Korea are up in arms over Japanese celebrations on Friday of Takeshima Day — a quasi-official holiday designed, appropriately, to mark an old territorial spat between Japan and South Korea.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/23/japanese-holiday-celebrating-disputed-islands-sparks-backlash-in-south-korea/

Japan sends envoy to South Korea in bid to dial down tensions

In the wake of elections that put hawkish leaders in power, Japan has reached out to South Korea in a bid to dial down tensions. Shinzo Abe, the new prime minister of Japan, sent an envoy to South Korea to meet Friday with Park Geun-hye, who was recently elected president.

“I’d like to act as a bridge to make this year a good one for both of our countries,” Japanese envoy Fukushiro Nukaga said, as quoted by the Kyodo news agency.

Park said she too wanted to rebuild ties, but urged Japan to “squarely face” its history. The closely watched meeting comes as the two countries spar over disputed islands and the sensitive history of South Koreans serving as “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-japan-envoy-south-korea-20130104,0,3383711.story

South Korea parliamentarians visit islands claimed by Japan

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean members of parliament visited a set of remote islands also claimed by Japan on Tuesday, a move likely to further fray ties between two of the most important U.S. allies in Asia.

The tour followed a visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in August, the first by a Korean leader, which prompted Japan to recall its ambassador to Seoul. The row was then overshadowed by a far more acute dispute between Tokyo and Beijing over another island group.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-korea-japanbre89m0ev-20121023,0,4297739.story

Anger of wartime sex slaves haunts Japan and South Korea

Women forced into working in frontline military brothels keep up pressure on Japan for direct compensation for war ordeal

Kang Il-chul was 16 when Japanese military police arrived at her home in South Korea and told her she was being conscripted. The year was 1943, and her country was just two years away from liberation after 35 years of brutal Japanese colonial rule.

Kang spent the remainder of the war in occupied China, as one of tens of thousands of Asian women forced to have sex with Japanese soldiers in frontline, makeshift brothels. “I was put in a tiny room and made to sleep with about 10 to 20 soldiers a day,” says Kang, pausing to display the scars on her head – the result of frequent beatings by the military police. “I was punched and beaten so much that my body was covered in bruises. I still get headaches.”

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/18/forced-prostitution-wartime-japan-korea?newsfeed=true

S. Korea presses Japan on wartime sexual slavery at U.N.

September 30, 2012 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Comfort Women, Dokdo, Prison Camp, Sexual Slavery, War Crimes 

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) — In a thinly-veiled swipe at Japan, South Korea’s top diplomat urged the world to make utmost efforts to end “wartime sexual violence” and exhorted any offender to face “the dark side of its history and rectify past wrongdoings.”

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan also implicitly criticized Japan for continuing to claim the South Korean islets of Dokdo, saying “no country should abuse” the rule of law to infringe upon another’s territorial integrity.

Although Kim did not mention Japan by name or directly refer to historical issues raising tensions with Tokyo in his speech, such as so-called “comfort women” and Dokdo, it was the first time South Korea has raised such issues at the U.N. assembly.

 ”Wartime sexual violence is a fundamental infringement of human rights, and is in fact an affront to human dignity and integrity,” Kim said.

Kim urged the world to “make utmost efforts to put an end to such atrocities, not only taking all measures to protect women and girls in armed conflicts, but also providing effective remedies and reparations for victims.”

“It requires a sound historical consciousness and heartfelt soul-searching on any past wrongdoings in order for solid peace and stability to be established between nations,” Kim said.

Read more:http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2012/09/29/82/0301000000AEN20120929001400315F.HTML

SKorea: Japan must educate its people about WWII

September 27, 2012 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Comfort Women, War Crimes 

NEW YORK — South Korea’s foreign minister said Thursday that Japan’s wartime past will overshadow relations between the two staunch U.S. allies until Japan educates its people about crimes committed during colonial rule.

In an interview with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said: “We are victims of Japanese colonial rule.”

Kim, who will meet with Japan’s foreign minister later Thursday, also said South Korea would not compromise in its dispute over the tiny Dokdo islands, called Takeshima by Japan, which has further strained ties.

“When the Japanese government claims Dokdo is their territory, Korean people (take) it as another attempt to invade our country,” Kim said. “So that’s the Korean sentiment and I hope that Japanese government understands this.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20120927/un-un-skorea-japan/

Korea refutes Japanese PM’s remarks on wartime sexual slavery

Japan should resolve a long-standing grievance regarding Korean women forced to serve as sex slaves during World War II through a sincere apology and compensation, a senior Seoul official said Monday, refuting published remarks on the matter by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

The issue of Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of Korean women for its front-line soldiers is one of the most emotional and unresolved issues between South Korea and Japan.

Korea has pressed Japan to resolve the issue through an apology and compensation for the aging Korean women on a humanitarian level, but Tokyo refuses to do so, saying the matter was already settled by a 1965 treaty that normalized relations between the two countries

Read more: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2012/09/120_120735.html

South Korean president turns up Japan heat: Emperor must apologize

August 15, 2012 by admin · Comments Off
Filed under: Comfort Women, Dokdo, Prison Camp, War Crimes 

SEOUL–Amid a flare-up in nationalistic anti-Japan rhetoric, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak has fueled it further with a demand for an apology by Emperor Akihito.

Lee said Akihito would be unwelcome in South Korea without a direct acknowledgment of guilt for Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945. Akihito acceded to the throne in 1989.

“Although (the emperor) wants to visit South Korea, I have told Japan he can only do so if he visits (the graves of) those who died in independence movements (against Japan) and apologizes to them from his heart,” Lee said Aug. 14, addressing a seminar for teachers in Cheongwon, North Chungcheong province.

It was the first time an incumbent South Korean president had publicly demanded such an apology.

Read more: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/korean_peninsula/AJ201208150066

South Korea-Japan Tensions Heat Up

SEOUL—South Korea President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday directed more criticism at Japan and suggested conditions for a hypothetical visit by the Japanese emperor on the eve of the annual commemoration of Korean independence from its former occupier.

The new remarks came just a few days after Mr. Lee angered Tokyo by visiting the Liancourt Rocks, a set of islets South Korea has controlled since the 1950s but that Japan also claims, and just before the August 15 celebration of liberation from Japan at the end of World War II.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444318104577588791284405330.html