Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Japan

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.

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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.

Newsline: Japan summons South Korean ambassador over WWII labor row

Japan’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the South Korean ambassador amid a deepening diplomatic dispute over wartime compensation. Earlier, an elderly man set himself on fire in protest outside Japan’s embassy in Seoul. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Friday issued a veiled threat towards South Korea as a bitter row over compensation for wartime forced labor continued to hurt ties. As he met with Seoul’s representative in Tokyo, Nam Gwan-pyo, Kono said what its neighbor was doing was “equivalent to subverting the post-World War Two international order.” (https://www.dw.com/en/japan-summons-south-korean-ambassador-over-wwii-labor-row/a-49643981) The two countries are at odds over a South Korean court decision last year ordering Japanese companies to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor during Japan’s occupation of the country from 1910 to 1945. Japan has said that all compensation issues were settled under a 1965 bilateral treaty. Tokyo claims the fact that the South Korean government has not intervened in the court process represents a breach of the agreement.

Newsline: South Korean dies from self-immolation near Japan’s embassy

A 78-year-old South Korean man died hours after setting himself ablaze near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Friday, police said, at a time of worsening tensions between Seoul and Tokyo. The man, surnamed Kim, ignited a fire inside his car parked in front of the building where the Embassy is located. The man died later Friday while being treated at a Seoul hospital, police said. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/man-immolates-japan-embassy-amid-seoul-tokyo-spat-64430704) Police said Kim had phoned an acquaintance earlier to say he planned to self-immolate to express his antipathy toward Japan.

Newsline: Chinese special envoy to North Korea becomes ambassador to Japan

China has appointed its special envoy to North Korea, vice foreign minister Kong Xuanyou, as its ambassador to Japan, state media said on May 28. (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3012163/chinese-special-envoy-north-korea-kong-xuanyou-becomes) Kong, who has held the South Asia portfolio at the ministry, has been envoy to North Korea since 2017, although much of the diplomacy between Beijing and Pyongyang was handled by the Communist Party. Chinese media said Kong would take up his new position in Japan as successor to Cheng Yonghua. Kong’s replacement as special envoy to North Korea was not named. China and Japan have sparred frequently about their shared history. China has often accused Japan of not properly atoning for its invasion of China before and during the second world war.

Newsline: Japan embassy offers aid to Japanese Venezuelans

The Japanese Embassy in Venezuela has begun providing relief supplies to a community of Japanese Venezuelans as living conditions in the country deteriorate amid worsening political uncertainty. All Japanese expatriate workers and their families have already evacuated the country. A local Japanese school has been shut down. The embassy is now trying to assist more than 400 Venezuelans of Japanese descent who are struggling to get by. At the request of a local Japanese association, the embassy delivered 210 portions of food, including rice and pasta, and some drinking water to the community of ethnic Japanese in the city of Maracaibo in the northwest of the country. (https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190320_17/) The city is suffering from repeated power blackouts and widespread looting. More than 50 ethnic Japanese families in Maracaibo are unable to leave their homes. The Japanese ambassador Kenji Okada said he hopes that the aid delivery will bring some relief to those who are facing a hard time.

Newsline: Japan to open embassy in Kosovo

Japan State Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshiko Abe announced opening of the Embassy in Pristina. Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has hosted Thursday in his office Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshiko Abe (https://www.gazetaexpress.com/en/news/japan-to-open-its-embassy-in-kosovo-174924/). Japanese Foreign Minister Toshiko Abe said that her country soon will open its Embassy in Pristina, which will strengthen cooperation between the two countries and nations. Until now Japan’s diplomatic mission in Vienna has covered Kosovo with a non-resident ambassador.