Analysts say that in recent years, Japan and South Korea have been at odds in many fields, and bilateral relations have deteriorated, falling to the lowest level in more than half a century. South Korean President Wen Zaiyin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized each other, while US President Trump said tensions between Japan and South Korea would put the United States at a disadvantage.
[Japan reduces Koreas status as an ally
Japans White Paper this year will be published as soon as mid-September. The section Security Cooperation records the cooperation and exchanges between Japan and other countries outside the United States.
In last years white paper, South Korea ranked second in terms of quasi-allies after Australia. However, according to Kyodo News Agency on the 10th, South Korea ranked fourth after Australia, India and ASEAN in this years white paper. Sources explained that this actually downgraded the importance of South Korea.
According to reports, the Japanese side listed in the white paper a number of recent disputes with South Korea, calling on South Korea to properly handle them. These include a South Korean destroyer in Japans exclusive economic zone in December last year, using fire control radar to lock in Japanese Self-Defense Force aircraft and so on.
In last years white paper, Japan called the existence of difficult bilateral problems between Japan and South Korea, but it is important to move forward with a future-oriented attitude. This shows that Japan showed a relatively positive attitude towards Japan-ROK relations at that time, and its views were obviously different from those of this year.
Source: Korean people protested in front of the Japanese Embassy.
[Does the deterioration of relations begin with historical disputes?
Korea and Japan formally established diplomatic relations in 1965. The diplomatic documents concerned the compensation for Korean labor expropriated by Japan during World War II. Under the agreement, Japan compensated South Korea for $300 million worth of funds and extended low-interest loans of $200 million. The agreement also states that all claims have been ultimately and completely settled.
President Park Chung-hee and his government spent the money on industrial construction in South Korea, but not all South Koreans were satisfied with the agreement. Many victims of World War II have insisted that the agreement was invalid. At the end of 2018, the Korean Grand Court ruled that several Japanese companies had to compensate Koreans who had been forced to work in Japan during World War II.
The Japanese government believes that South Koreas move undermines the agreement on the establishment of diplomatic documents between the two countries. However, the Korean court held that the victims of labour could file a lawsuit for crimes against humanity and claim compensation from Japanese enterprises directly related to colonial rule, which was not covered by the two countriesagreement.
Source: Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.
[Export restrictions ignite trade disputes
In July this year, the Japanese government introduced export restrictions on materials needed by Korean pillar industries. Japan said the move was due to improper management of sensitive materials exported to South Korea and related to national security.
Japan is the largest producer of hydrogen fluoride, photoresist and fluoropolyimide, and its output dominates the world. These three materials are essential for chip and display production, which is also an important industry in Korea. According to IHS Markit, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, the Korean technology giant, accounted for 60% of the worlds total memory components last year.
Japans export restrictions will not only affect the Korean economy. Laura Bicker, a BBC correspondent in Seoul, reports that more than half of the semiconductors and displays needed for smartphones, laptops and televisions worldwide are made in Korea, and export restrictions may increase the prices of these products and affect the global supply chain of electronic products.
South Korea threatened to abolish the Military Intelligence Protection Agreement between the two countries after it expired at the end of this month and stop sharing information. Japan and South Korea must decide at the end of this month whether to continue to extend the agreement.
Source: South Korean President Wen Youyin. China News Agency Development Pyongyang Joint Interview Mission for Maps
[Relations between the two countries have fallen to the freezing point
Singapores Lianhe Zaobao newspaper said that with the escalation of disputes, relations between the two countries deteriorated rapidly, which could be said to have fallen to the lowest level in more than half a century.
South Korean President Wen Zaiyin said on the 8th that Japan has undermined its trust in the free trade order and international division of labor, criticizing this practice will damage Japans credibility. Japans Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the key lies in trust and whether countries can abide by their commitments to each other.
Meanwhile, some angry Koreans have launched a boycott of Japanese goods, including beer, clothing and even travel to Japan. According to Japanese media reports, Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing brand, has planned to close a store in downtown Seoul because of resistance from Korean consumers. Sales of Japanese cars in South Korea also declined significantly in July.
U.S. President Trump had previously called on Japan and South Korea to improve bilateral relations, saying tensions between Japan and South Korea would put the United States at a disadvantage. Korea and Japan are always fighting, he told the media at the White House. They must get along well so as not to put us at a disadvantage. They should be allies.
Source of this article: Liable Editor of CNN: Lin Zhiheng_NY9285