Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine returns to Seoul after being recalled almost three months ago in response to Korean civic groups erecting a statue of a girl symbolizing the sexual slavery victims in front of its consulate in the southern Korean port city of Busan. Yasumasa Nagamine was called back in January, in protest of a statue honoring the victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery set up by a civic group in Korea’s southeastern port city of Busan. Tokyo took the action because it felt the statue went against the spirit of the December 2015 bilateral agreement to provide support to Korean women forced to provide sex to Japanese military personnel before and during World War II. In returning the envoy, Japan has cited the need to engage with South Korea, which is in a transitional period ahead of the May 9 presidential election, and to coordinate with its neighbor in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat. Japan has repeatedly called on South Korea to “resolve” the issue of the statues following the 2015 agreement. With the recall of the envoy, Japan also postponed bilateral economic dialogue and talks on a new currency swap with South Korea.
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Newsline: Recalled Japan ambassador returns to South Korea