Japan envoy recalled over statue flap to return to S. Korea

Japan envoy recalled over statue flap to return to S. Korea

TOKYO — Japan said Monday that it is sending back its ambassador to South Korea despite an ongoing impasse over a “comfort woman” statue, stressing that it is not meant to be a compromise.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced that Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine will fly back to Seoul on Tuesday, along with the consul-general in the South Korean city of Busan.

Kishida said Japan made the decision because of the need to study and develop ties with a new government succeeding ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye amid North Korea’s missile threat. He said Japan regrets that South Korea has not complied with what was supposed to be a final agreement to resolve their differences over the comfort woman issue in late 2015, and that the ambassador will be working to make sure the new administration respects the deal.

Before and during World War II, Japan forced many Korean and other women in Asia to work in brothels for the Japanese military in what was known as the “comfort woman” system.

“The agreement is a promise that the two countries made to international society. We must sincerely implement it,” Kishida said.

Japanese officials said sending the envoys does not mean Japan is caving in to South Korea’s refusal to remove the statue.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan’s other retaliatory actions, such as the suspension of some negotiations with South Korea, including a proposed currency swap arrangement for times of financial crisis, will stay in place. He said sending back the envoys also reflected Japan’s concerns over the safety of Japanese nationals in South Korea “when the political situation is extremely uncertain.”

South Korea will hold an election on May 9 to elect a new president to replace Park, who was impeached and later arrested amid a massive corruption scandal.

Japan recalled the ambassador and the consul-general in January in response to the placing of the statue outside of Japan’s consulate in Busan.

Activists in South Korea oppose the agreement. A comfort woman statue put up outside the Japanese Embassy in Seoul in 2011 remains in place, and activists installed a similar statue by the same sculptor in Busan in December.

___

Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

Find her work on AP News at https://www.apnews.com/search/mari%20yamaguchi

Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Homeless campers of Namegans Nation head to Oak Bay

Roughly 30 members of roving tent city settle at Cattle Point in Uplands Wednesday

Legalization at the legislature: Victoria celebrates with free cannabis

Longtime cannabis activist Dana Larsen hands out free joints, seeds, plants

B.C. moves ahead with speculation tax despite mayors calling for changes

Oak Bay mayor says he was hoping for a different outcome

UPDATE: Pat Bay Highway traffic moving again after motorcyclist rear-ended

Three vehicle collision stalled traffic in southbound lane Wednesday shortly before 4 p.m.

MP calls federal government’s cannabis pardon ‘half-baked’

Murray Rankin introduced bill to expunge criminal possession records for free

Watch: Saanich responds to mock emergency for ammonia Leak

Hazmat suits, emergency centre respond to mock ammonia leak

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

VIDEO: Courtenay marks legalization by passing out free joints

Leaf Compassion celebrates new marijuana law in Courtenay

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Jusu adds hemp extract to the menu in Greater Victoria

Food and beverage product to be enhanced with hemp extract

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

Most Read