Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan of South Korea criticized Japan on Thursday and its potential shifting to the right as a result of Shinzo Abe winning next month’s election for prime minister. Kim says that Seoul will not stand down or weaken its stance against any acts by the Tokyo government to be more confrontational on the two countries’ island dispute or other related historical issues.
Being unusually blunt, Foreign Minister Kim stated that it was clear Japan’s political arena is moving towards the right and the leaders gaining power are becoming more nationalistic, including former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, and former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, with the latter two now leading the Japan Restoration Party. With current Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda having called for a general election on December 16th, the Abe-led Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is widely expected to gain power.
Abe made a recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, a war memorial that upsets South Korea and China because of the perception that it glorifies Japan’s past aggressions. Among his election pledges are strengthening Japan’s military force, and taking a stronger stance against South Korea and historical issues such as the forcing of Korean women to serve as “comfort women,” or sexual slaves, before and during World War II.
Kim said that it will be the South Korean government’s policy to not compromise with Japan on any such topics, including the territorial dispute over the Dokdo / Takeshima Islands. Cho Tai-young, a spokesman for South Korea’s foreign ministry, also took the chance to protest the LDP’s nationalistic policies, saying that Japan should be trying to make history, not repeat it by bringing back the country’s previous attitudes.
[via Yonhap News]