-UPDATED: November 15, 5:16 PM In Arirang’s report of the statement, they decline to name the Japanese magazine that originally published the quote by Prime Minister Abe, referring to it as only a “conservative” publication. The South Morning China Post has since identified the magazine as the Shukan Bunshun, however they printed the comment without identifying the context or when Abe said it, or revealing the article author’s name, raising significant questions about accuracy. We now recommend reading this unverified news with a (large) grain of salt.-
Another day, another Japan-South Korea controversy and this time, it might add even more fuel to the fire. A conservative Japanese magazine published a quote from Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that called South Korea a “foolish country”, comparing them to China, which he called “absurd.”
Japan’s relations with both countries have been less than stellar for the past year, given the lingering historical issues from Japan’s militaristic past, as well as several territorial disputes over islands in the East China Sea. The magazine says that Abe, while calling China absurd, says at least they are able to work with them in a diplomatic manner as compared to their other East Asian neighbour. South Korean President Park Geun-hye recently said that a summit with Japan is useless as long as they stick with their stand on their war-time crimes.
Seoul has been demanding an official apology from Tokyo for atrocities committed during their occupation from 1910-1945, particularly on the issue of women who were forced to become sexual slaves for the Imperial Army (comfort women), even as various Japanese leaders have already made statements about it. Japan’s stand has always been there is no need any more for compensation as the 1965 treaty that normalized relations between the two countries covered all of that with the lump sum that Japan paid.
Aside from the historical arguments, Japan is also involved in a territorial tussle over the Takeshima Islands, known as Dokdo in the Korean archipelago, which is currently under the administration of South Korea. Another dispute is between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands or the Diaoyus, which Tokyo nationalized some of them in 2012. There have been no comments yet from either country over this magazine article.