Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Japan

Japan embassy in Seoul posts radiation data amid escalating row

Japan’s embassy in South Korea has begun posting data on its website to show there is little difference in radiation levels between the two countries in its latest retort in a diplomatic and trade row rooted in wartime history. South Korea said last month that it will double the radiation testing of some Japanese food exports due to potential contamination from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant. The embassy said the radiation reading in Seoul as of Friday was 0.12 microsieverts per hour, around the same as 0.135 in Fukushima City, and higher than Tokyo’s 0.036. It will update the data every day the embassy is open, it said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-korea-radiation/japan-embassy-in-seoul-posts-radiation-data-amid-escalating-row-idUSKBN1WE07W) The World Nuclear Association has said the global average of naturally occurring background radiation is a range of around 0.17-0.39 microsieverts per hour.


Newsline: South Korean Embassy in Tokyo receives ‘bullet’ in threat mail

Tokyo police have launched an investigation after the South Korean Embassy received a threatening letter alongside what appeared to be a bullet late last month. Investigative sources say the embassy noticed the delivery of an envelope containing a single sheet of paper and an apparent bullet. The mail was addressed to the former South Korean Ambassador to Japan. The envelope did not bear the sender’s name. (https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190903_23/) The paper inside said the sender possesses rifles and is plotting to target South Koreans. The person also wrote that South Koreans should leave Japan. In a separate case on Sunday, police arrested a 67-year-old man who punched and damaged the embassy’s mail box. The man was posting a letter of protest against the South Korean government.

Newsline: In unusual move, Japan names Yomiuri Chairman ambassador to Switzerland

The government on Friday named Kojiro Shiraishi, chairman of the conservative media conglomerate Yomiuri Shimbun group, as its new ambassador to Switzerland. The appointment of Shiraishi, 72, is a rare case of a media figure becoming a top envoy. He fills the vacancy left by the resignation in April of Etsuro Honda, one of the key architects of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies, known as Abenomics. (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/08/30/national/japan-names-yomiuri-chairman-kojiro-shiraishi-ambassador-switzerland/#.XWlZYY1RU8o) Shiraishi, a former political reporter, rose through the newspaper’s ranks to become group president in June 2011. He also served as owner of the Yomiuri Giants baseball team before becoming group chairman in June 2016. As head of the Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association, he sat on the government panel that helped choose Japan’s new era name, Reiwa. Japan on Friday also named ambassadors to Bangladesh, Belarus, Denmark, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, Zambia and its mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Newsline: South Korea summons Japan ambassador as export trade curbs take effect

South Korea summoned Japan’s ambassador to protest against a decision to remove Seoul’s fast-track export status, which took effect on Wednesday amid a deepening political and economic feud. Japan dropped South Korea from a so-called white list of favored trade partners this month, which could mean more paperwork and on-site inspections for some Japanese exporters and potentially slow supplies of a range of goods. The decision prompted South Korea to drop Japan from its favored trading list and scrap an intelligence-sharing agreement. South Korean deputy national security adviser Kim Hyun-chong said it was deeply regrettable that Japan’s decision to scrap fast-track export status for South Korea had taken effect. South Korea would be willing to reconsider its decision to end the intelligence-sharing pact if Japan corrected its “unjust measures”, Kim told a news conference. “I want to stress the ball is in Japan’s court,” he said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-japan-labourers/south-korea-summons-japan-ambassador-as-export-trade-curbs-take-effect-idUSKCN1VI0AM) Relations between the two countries worsened late last year after South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered compensation for some Koreans forced to work at Japanese firms during Japan’s 1910-45 occupation.

Newsline: Japan summons South Korean ambassador as row deepens

Japan on Thursday summoned the South Korean ambassador to protest Seoul’s decision to scrap an intelligence-sharing agreement with Tokyo, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said, as relations between the neighbors further worsened. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-japan-labourers-diplomacy/japan-summons-south-korean-ambassador-as-row-deepens-idUSKCN1VC1KN) Kono also told reporters that South Korea was misreading the security environment following its move. Seoul earlier said it was scrapping the intelligence-sharing pact, a decision that could escalate a dispute over history and trade and undercut security cooperation on North Korea.

Newsline: Russia summons Japanese ambassador over disputed islands comments

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday it had summoned the Japanese ambassador in Moscow to complain about what it said was criticism from Tokyo that bordered on “an attempt to interfere in Russia’s domestic affairs.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-russia/russia-summons-japanese-ambassador-over-disputed-islands-comments-idUSKCN1UW1U8) Tokyo earlier this month called a visit by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to one of four islands claimed by both Japan and Russia extremely regrettable and urged Moscow to take constructive steps to advance ties. The Russian foreign ministry said Japan’s comments about what it did on its sovereign territory were unacceptable. It said it had also handed Japan’s ambassador a note of protest over what it said were violations of a visa-free exchange regime related to the disputed islands.

Newsline: South Korea detains 6 for illegally entering Japan consulate

South Korean police detained six people for allegedly illegally entering a Japanese diplomatic facility in South Korea and staging an anti-Tokyo demonstration there. The incident came amid growing anti-Japanese sentiments in South Korea as the two countries are locked in trade and political disputes. Last Friday, a 78-year-old South Korean man died after setting himself on fire near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/south-korea-detains-illegally-entering-japan-consulate-64478434) The six men and women were given temporary passes to enter the Japanese consulate in the southeastern city of Busan earlier after they told staff there they would visit a library inside the building, according to Busan police officers.