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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 August 21 - 27  > Shii: Japan’s remorse for its colonial rule essential to ease tensions with South Korea
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2019 August 21 - 27 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Shii: Japan’s remorse for its colonial rule essential to ease tensions with South Korea

August 27, 2019

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on August 26 at a press conference commented on the growing tensions between Japan and South Korea in response to questions from reporters, with South Korea terminating the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan.

Shii expressed deep concern over the deterioration of bilateral relation. He said that the reason for the current situation is because the Abe government has been refusing to fulfill its responsibility to restore the honor of Korean victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor system and recently tightened trade regulations on exports to South Korea as a means to settle the wartime forced labor issue.

The JCP chair noted that in dealing with this issue, Japan’s diplomacy has shown a lack of respect for its counterpart. For example, he added, Japan’s Foreign Minister Kono Taro called to his office the South Korean ambassador to Japan and angrily criticized South Korea as “rude” before the press. This was disgraceful.

Concerning the root cause of the bitter relationship between Tokyo and Seoul, Shii pointed to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s disregard of the fact that his predecessors expressed “remorse” for Japan’s past colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula, as Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi did in the 1995 statement and PM Obuchi Keizo in the 1998 Japan-ROK Joint Declaration. In contrast, for example, Abe in his 2015 statement glorified the Russo-Japan War which paved the way for Japan’s colonialization of Korea.

Shii stressed that sincere remorse for Japan’s war of aggression is essential for Japan to open a prospect of resolving the pending issues with South Korea, such as the forced labor issue and the so-called Japanese military “comfort women” issue.

Asked for a comment about South Korea’s announcement to end GSOMIA, Shii said that the JCP has been opposed to the intelligence sharing agreement in the first place. He pointed out that in 2007, Japan concluded GSOMIA with the U.S., which was aimed at promoting bilateral collaboration in the field of military intelligence and continues to be part of efforts to turn Japan into a country fighting wars abroad together with the U.S.

Shii stated that the 2016 Japan-ROK GSOMIA is aimed at making the two countries participate in the U.S.-led missile defense system and increasing the military threat on China and North Korea. He said that the JCP does not think that the termination of the Japan-South Korea GSOMIA will have a negative affect on peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

Past related articles:
> Abe gov’t drops South Korea from ‘white list’ of preferential trade partners [August 3, 2019]
> JCP urges Abe gov’t to refrain from expanding export restrictions against South Korea [August 1, 2019]
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