politics

Japan, S Korea lawmakers meet to ease row over trade, history

39 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

39 Comments
Login to comment

Korea is a country influences of Confucianism is very strong. That may explain their uncompromising stubborness. For them, losing face is a matter of life and death. Japanese were the same before the war. America changed it. For Americans, losing faces is everyday affair.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Yes shake hands, by all means then visit Yashcuni I can actually tast the contrition so can they. That's the point.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

What a farce.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Korean proverb "Fool lends his book and fool returns the book"

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Koreans hysteria at its height. They think they must be treated as superior to all other Asian countries.

They've got completely the wrong end of the stick.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Too little, too late SK. You should have ensured that there was no trade to Communist North Korea. That is why SK is being removed from "White List" of the most friendly nations to Japan.

Japanese tourists and businessmen in Korea tomorrow when Japan removes SK from the "White List" of friendly nations are well advised to be in lock down. I am worried for them. If there are problems, Japanese tourism to SK will drop to zero overnight. Guaranteed.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

The wartime labor issue is a much bigger headache for Japan than the export flap because more than a dozen other similar lawsuits are pending, involving nearly 70 Japanese companies, and their damages could be huge.

Just wait and see how many lawsuits there are if they pay out...

7 ( +11 / -4 )

If these SKorean lawmakers are here to actually try to resolve this issue, then great, But if they are here to simply repeat the demand that Japan continue to keep them on the Whitelist, without offering anything to regain Japan's trust, then it's a total waste of time.

7 ( +16 / -9 )

This problem will never solve by any meetings or political pressures. SK doesn't understand the essence of the matter. It's the matter of the trade management of your country.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

If these SKorean lawmakers are here to actually try to resolve this issue, then great, But if they are here to simply repeat the demand that Japan continue to keep them on the Whitelist, without offering anything to regain Japan's trust, then it's a total waste of time.

Unfortunately, it appears that way from the article.

And this is what I find exceptionally annoying and aggravating. There is absolutely zero sense of humility or understanding from the South Korean government and their rabid anti-Japan fan base. Being on the "white list" is, I repeat for the thousandth time, a privilege, not a right. Removing South Korea from the list is NOT a violation of WTO or any other ridiculous excuse the anti-Japan crowd wants to spout off. The South Korean government has zero basis for demanding Japan to leave it on the list.

Who does the SK government think they are, demanding a privilege and acting like a petulant child, and when things don't go their way, stir up anti-Japan hatreds with comfort women, WW2, and colonial histories?

And seeing as the SK government has zero integrity and accountability, it is absolutely understandable looking at the bigger picture why the Japanese government has zero interest in settling the war labor issue. It is not because Japan is trying to 'hide' the past or ignore it, it is solely because no matter what Japan does, it will never be enough, the SK government will soon enough negate any treaties or agreements and continue to lie that Japan has 'never' apologized for its past. We've already seen this over and over and over, including the 2015 treaty which was done in good faith by BOTH parties.

Grow up!

8 ( +17 / -9 )

And seeing as the SK government has zero integrity and accountability, it is absolutely understandable looking at the bigger picture why the Japanese government has zero interest in settling the war labor issue. It is not because Japan is trying to 'hide' the past or ignore it, it is solely because no matter what Japan does, it will never be enough, the SK government will soon enough negate any treaties or agreements and continue to lie that Japan has 'never' apologized for its past. We've already seen this over and over and over, including the 2015 treaty which was done in good faith by BOTH parties.

Exactly this. Before anyone brings up the whole way Germany apologized and everything to attempt to support the SK position on this. Apologizing only works if the people being apologized too are willing to forgive. Otherwise you may as well be yelling into sand. SK, at least the government and a few right wing nutcases, seem to be intent on prolonging this whole thing as long as possible. It suits their rhetoric and is a useful political tool. It's a shame to be honest.

My co-worker, who used to work in Korea; now working in Japan, and I had a conversation about this. He made an interesting observation: SK is like what I imagine Japan was 50 years ago. That says a lot.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

@ksteer

The problem lies in Japan, not in S. Korea. For example:

Absent is a complete record of her imperial ambitions in the neighboring countries of China and Korea, of her provocation and slaughter in the former, and subjugation of the latter.

But old habits are hard to break. Effective authority seeped back to the Ministry in the 1950s and '60s as it took increasing advantage of a textbook screening law passed in 1949 for the original purpose of preventing the inclusion of ultranationalist indoctrination in teaching material. Turning this authority on its head, the Ministry eventually applied it to weaken textbooks' descriptions of Japan's wartime deeds. The Ministry also started. to supply local school districts with textbooks free of charge. Today, the local boards are free to decline a particular text, but only from a selection approved by Tokyo. The national government remains firmly in control of the material taught throughout the land. 

https://www.heritage.org/asia/report/the-pearl-harbor-anniversary-japan-still-says-dont-blame-me

University student Mayako Shibata told McClatchyDC in 2014 she "can’t remember any class where she learned why the attack on Pearl Harbor happened. 

https://www.ranker.com/list/how-pearl-harbor-is-taught-in-japan/kellen-perry

-12 ( +8 / -20 )

They won’t accomplish much, but the bicultural drinking parties will no doubt be admirable, and will demonstrate that some cooperation could someday be possible again.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Korea wants this from Japan.

Apologies compensation whenever demanded by different groups in Korea.

Japan government do nothing on the court ruling in Korea, let your companies assets be seized, your evil remember the past, that's why.

They want to rewrite Japans childrens text books the way they see fit.

They want you to recognize and accept Takeshima Island as theirs now and forever.

They want to change the name of Japan Sea to East Sea, they would prefer Korea Sea but East Sea is second best.

New aggrement to replace the 1965, forget the money given back than we want new money.

They want to be on ''Whitelist'' of special countries, but still hate Japan and use the historical cards as necessary.

Forget the 2015 comfort woman deal now in 2019 they want a new deal with more money and new apology.

They want influence, control of Japan however way possible. Even if it's by playing the victimhood card. If you allow them to continue on this path, they will indefinitely.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

@SJ

The problem lies in S Korea, not in Japan. For example:

Absent is a complete record of the benefits of the annexation, how it was encouraged by leading modernizing Korean citizens, and requested by the Korea ruler.

Unfortunately, the more history that is being done about the era, the more the falsehoods propagated by Koreans are being exposed.

As for the falsehoods propagated by the Chinese, seriously? No one on earth believes them, not even the 50c Army that posts them.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Here’s a way to stop this gaming between these two supposedly mature cultures. Large corporations should swap prime stocks. It’ll cut the incentive to mess around with each other’s economy, i.e., they'd be shooting themselves in the foot by playing these tit for tat games.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

BTW, in NY the Japanese and Korean communities are next to each other, just a few miles north of the city. I’ve never heard of problems among these people. Come back home and all this puss seems to come out.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

“Nukaga told reporters that the Japanese lawmakers told their South Korean counterparts that it's their domestic problem and their government should resolve the problem on its own. “

Japan still not interested in coming to terms with reality. SK doesn’t need them.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

They sure look happy considering one side doesn't really care and the other side is having a hissy fit about something very minor...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

talaraedokkoToday  10:13 am JST

BTW, in NY the Japanese and Korean communities are next to each other, just a few miles north of the city. 

There hasn't been a "Japanese community" in NYC or it's suburbs in 20-30 years. Former areas of Japanese concentration like Flushing NY and Fort Lee NJ are all Korean now. When was the last time you were there?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@ksteer

You could not be more wrong. Germany apologized sincerely and that is the difference. Here in Japan an apology is followed by bringing flowers to yasukuni shrine to honor the war criminals...

The issue is not caused by the Japanrse people but by a few ultra right wing politicians. Abe san will not rest before he erases the war crimes of his grandfather and completely whitewashed history.

Just look at the wording in the press here... using 'comfort women' and War time workers' instead of forced sex slaves and work slaves etc...

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

See, a lot of solutions.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Japan still not interested in coming to terms with reality. SK doesn’t need them."

So, why is Korea making a big fuss then?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

was done in good faith by BOTH parties

Good faith huh? Does that include actual harassment of news reporters in Japan to change their tune regarding this entire debacle? News to you? I'll let this try to remove the blinders.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/opinion/whitewashing-history-in-japan.html

The Abe government, intent on stoking nationalistic fervor, was rebuffed earlier this year in its effort to have revisions made to a 1996 United Nations human rights report on the women Japan forced into sex slavery. 

> But, at home, the right wing continues to hammer away at The Asahi Shimbun newspaper, seizing on the paper’s retractions of articles published in the 1980s and 1990s that turned on limited aspects of its coverage to deny the larger historical truth of the “comfort women” program.

> >  “They want to bully us into silence,” Takashi Uemura, a former Asahi reporter, said in describing how ultranationalists have made violent threats against him and his family.

>

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

@Brussel

You could not be more wrong. Germany apologized sincerely and that is the difference. Here in Japan an apology is followed by bringing flowers to yasukuni shrine to honor the war criminals...

The only reason that Germany's apology is considered sincere is because the people they were apologizing to accepted it. Sincerity of an apology is unfortunately decided by the person being apologized too and SK won't accept anything other than Japan groveling at it's knees. They still have yet to put forward an acceptable resolution to this issue, among other things.

The issue with Yasukuni is that it will always be construed as honoring the war criminals. However that completely misses the point of Yasukuni. It "happens" to enshrine a few war criminals from WW2, however the Shrine itself is just a dedication to all the Japanese who have died in battle, regardless of whether they were the good or not, and regardless of what war. There are people enshrined there from the 1868 Boshin War. The Shrine enshrines 2,466,532 men, women, and children and only 14 Class A war criminals. In other words, people are getting bent out of shape because of 0.0006% of the people enshrined there.

Honoring the dead soldiers that weren't involved with atrocities is apparently a bad thing? If not at Yasukuni then where would they do that? You need to read up on how Shintoism works, and how Yasukuni itself is actually structured. Maybe then you would be a bit more understanding. It's regrettable that war criminals are enshrined there, however due to Shinto beliefs that can't be undone.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

 It's regrettable that war criminals are enshrined there, however due to Shinto beliefs that can't be undone

The addition of the war criminals was deliberate. It was callous and completely uncalled for. The situation is delicate given one's beliefs. However, private visits should be encouraged over wild spectacles that are clearly designed to feed the minority racists.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

So the boycotting of goods,anti-japan protests and flags burning awhile ago can just be ignored? SK is full of hypocrites. Whatever agreements or promise they made now or in the future, it would just be forgotten or broken later on whenever it suits them. The main reason is the SK government isn't doing anything to pacify all this hatred and going to the core of the problem.

SK being remove from the 'White Country" list is gonna happen. No amount of tantrum or flattery is gonna prevent that. Time to hit back hard.

When both parties are in heated confrontation and have their feelings bottle up, it's best to just let them fight it out till they are exhausted. Each side need to suffer a bit and feel the pain before they can sober up. Then you can have your peace talk.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In all the weeks that this trade issue has been covered on this website, not one anti-Japan individual has given any valid reason as to why South Korea should stay on the white list, and why Japan is wrong to consider revoking that privilege.

Not one.

Instead, day after day, article after article, all I see from the anti-Japan crowd here are attempts to obfuscate the very legitimate concerns the Japanese government has about South Korean export controls. Irrelevant statements about Japan's 'insincere' apologies, how Germany has been more 'sincere' than Japan, past apologies/compensation not legitimate, and on and on and on.

Moon and his rabid fan base in South Korea would be incredibly proud of you people. Instead of discussing and handling political issues like mature adults, instead throw a temper tantrum when you don't get your way, and then stir up racial hatreds with nonsense about comfort women/colonial aggression/non apologies to try and rally the world into shaming Japan into submission.

So. Utterly. Predictable. And shameless.

Come this Friday Japan will have finally grown a backbone and say enough is enough and drop South Korea from its white list like a bad habit. The anti-Japan demonstrations will hit a fever pitch with encouragement from the Moon government. Not only burning of hinomaru's en masse, but destruction of Japanese goods and possibly business/properties. And sadly, the anti-Japan crowd on here and around the world will solely blame Japan like the ignoramuses they are.

Grow up!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@Wallace Fred Today 11:18 am JST

Would you like to justify why Asahi and its reporters should not be hit?

First, their report, by their own admission, was inaccurate.

Second, it was an inaccuracy to the detriment of all of Japan.

Third, the consequences of this inaccuracy were not insignificant or of short duration.

Fourth, what they reported can hardly be called news - it is of an event dozens of years ago and thus requires no urgent resolution or even investigation; thus the usual excuses available to news reports (that it is important to get the story out fast, so the necessary investigations, interest, and actions can be attracted) can hardly be said to apply.

It is a fault that should attract criminal level consequences. How would you defend them?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The addition of the war criminals was deliberate. It was callous and completely uncalled for. The situation is delicate given one's beliefs. However, private visits should be encouraged over wild spectacles that are clearly designed to feed the minority racists.

As much as I usually disagree with your points regarding Japan - SK relations. This is something I completely agree with. You're absolutely correct in stating they were added deliberately. However, that's slightly redundant now. They can't be removed due to the common interpretation of Shintoism by the current clergy. No use in beating a dead horse.

I also agree that private visits should be encouraged, however the prime minister and other high levels of office holders still have an individual right to visit the Shrine and pay respects. Due to their importance though, they're always going to be followed by cameras, which is ultimately what makes it a spectacle. People interpret things in ways that fit their beliefs. The right wingers are going to see these visits as support for their cause, and the people who want to continue hating on Japan over this are going to see it as supporting the return to imperialism. Then there are the people who see it for what it is, a religious practice that is as much a personal thing as is going to the bathroom.

There are going to be Japanese Prime Ministers who avoid going there. Then there will be ones that go there out of religious views and respect. I hardly think it's a simple matter though and the morality of it likely weighs on their minds. There isn't any win-win here. It's all a catch 22 with regards to Yasukuni, the sooner people understand that, the better.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well said old man.

One other thing I'd like to point out is that South Korea let Japan take the upper hand in the white list issue in the first place. They new very well that Japan would be the only (and crucial) supplier of high tech materials - basically South Korea accepted that they would be dependent on Japan - by entering into the white list agreement in the first place. That's why the list exists, and the privilege of being on it is not meant to be abused.

South Korea abused it.

And here we are...

South Korea is doing their (already shonky) image a lot of damage by not immediately proving to Japan they can be trustworthy. That is what this is all about... trust. Currently South Korea is not worthy of it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So the boycotting of goods,anti-japan protests and flags burning awhile ago can just be ignored?

Don't forget SK actively discriminated against their own people by not servicing those who drove Japanese car brands at the gas station!!!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Would you like to justify why Asahi and its reporters should not be hit?

Oh boy. Would you like to go hit all the reporters working at these news sources?

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/04/26/national/history/japans-whitewashing-world-war-ii-history-rankles-u-s-veterans/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1323859/Chinese-angry-at-whitewash-of-Japans-history.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_history_textbook_controversies

https://www.mic.com/articles/113424/japan-is-trying-to-whitewash-its-world-war-ii-history-we-can-t-let-that-happen

How long will you keep denying historical facts?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@kstee

The only reason that Germany's apology is considered sincere is because the people they were apologizing to accepted it. Sincerity of an apology is unfortunately decided by the person being apologized too and SK won't accept anything other than Japan groveling at it's knees. 

You make a good point to begin with, but end with an error.

It should have read either,

a) SK won't accept anything.

Or,

b) SK won't accept anything other than money. A perpetual supply of money.

But, I have come to think there is another psychology in play here and what SK really needs is to think there is someone worse than them, and for that other party to constantly admit it, in order to constantly make SK feel better about itself. But it won't work because what SK feels bad about is what it iself has done or is inable to do.

Look at it like personal psychology.

In another post, I liked SK like the type of needy, hysterical gold digging girlfriend who tries to keep a hold on you, to feed off your money, by threatening to hurt or kill herself every time you say its over.

The lesson is that nothing will every been enough.

If Japan groveling at it's knees, these South Koreans will demand Japan lies with its face in the dirt.

If Japan lies with its face in the dirt, these South Koreans will demand Japan digs a hole 6' deep and lies in it.

If Japan digs a hole 6' deep and lies in it, these South Koreans will demand Japan buries itself.

If Japan buries itself, these South Koreans will demand Japan digs itself out, kills itself, and buries itself again. And on and on and on.

The solution is just to say, no. To draw a line and say, "I am sorry, that's it, When you want to do business is a mature, respectful, adult manner, come back and see us". To face down the eruptions when it comes, and not be moved by it.

In short, it's like dealing with an adolescent who keep calling you a fascist just because you won't allow them to use the family car you paid for to go out partying.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@wallace fred

"How long will you keep denying historical facts?"

Oh, right!!

http://www.aei.org/publication/south-korea-wants-to-brainwash-students-to-whitewash-north-koreas-bloody-history/

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Koreans are coming empty handed again and demanding the same thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ksteer

There is no way Korea is behind Japan!

I have visited Korea over 25 years and can safely say that Korea is in some ways more advanced than Japan!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kurisupisuToday  03:34 pm JST

I think that comment means something cultural or way-of-thinking. Korea, as far as I know, does have better free Wi-Fi, though maybe it doesn't mean that much with 5G coming round the corner.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@pacificwest

The problem lies in S Korea, not in Japan. For example:

You seem to need more external sources.

After decades of obfuscation, Japan stated today for the first time that bungling within the Foreign Ministry 53 years ago was responsible for Japan's failure to declare war on the United States before launching its attack on Pearl Harbor.

https://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/21/world/japan-admits-it-bungled-notice-of-war-in-41.html

http://faculty.virginia.edu/setear/students/japanwc/2.htm

Fabrication and distortion for the past history at the level of government has a far longer history and a far deeper origin than your surmise. It covers from the old stone age to the modern Abe administration period, originating from Nihon Shoki:

Summary: https://discovermagazine.com/1998/jun/japaneseroots1455/

Detailed: https://www.amazon.com/Ruins-Identity-Ethnogenesis-Japanese-Islands/dp/0824821564

"Although we are Jomon people," [the boy] read aloud from a notice flanking the exhibit, "we can speak Japanese." When [one of the female attendants pretending to be a Jomonette] congratulated him effusively on his reading abilities, the little boy cried out "Yappari, Nihonjin-da!" with a mixture of surprise and relief: "I thought soshe's Japanese!" The thought that Jomon people might have been otherwise, even to a small boy, is disturbing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites