Several experts and lawmakers are urging Japan and South Korea to double their efforts to restore strained relations in light of territorial and historical disputes between the two countries stemming from as far as the 1910-1945 colonial rule of Korea by Japan. Issues which include Japan’s failure to act on Korea’s call for compensation to women forced to work as sex slaves during the Second World War and Japan’s renewed claims to the islets of Takeshima/Dokdo, off the easternmost part of South Korea, have increased the tension.
While both Japan and South Korea have had on-off amicable relations in the past, this latest tiff is proving to be the most difficult yet, according to former Asahi Shimbun editor-in-chief Yoshibumi Wakamiya in a seminar at the National Assembly. The forum was hosted by a lawmaker’s group in Seoul and aimed to find clear solutions on addressing and repairing the tense relations between the two countries.
Wakamiya said that straightening the issue of territories and historical concerns should be the first priority before the two seek to find a joint stance on where to bring the bilateral relations. He even cited Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s nationalistic tendency as a hindrance to achieving a unified relationship. He also said that the government should channel funds to pay damages fee to South Korea’s comfort women and should stop provoking each other regarding the issue of Dokdo in any way possible.
Former South Korean ambassador to Japan Shin Kak-soo meanwhile suggested a declaration seeking a new future direction by both countries. He also encourages inviting scholars and lawmakers from both countries to participate in helping alleviate the increasing tension. He sees the “chill” between the two continuing until next year but a meeting between Abe and South Korean president Park Geun-Hye can help break the ice.
[via Yonhap News]
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