Japan considers recalling amb. to Seoul
The Japanese government is considering recalling Japan’s envoy to Seoul in protest of a South Korean court ruling that a Japanese company must compensate South Korean forced labor victims during the 1910-45 Japanese occupation, according to officials.
“We are aware of Japan’s moves to seek a temporary recall of Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Yasumasa Nagamine as one of the possible options as part of the country’s strong protest against the South’s decision on war victims,” a source at the National Assembly told The Korea Times, Friday. “I heard the possibility has emerged as one of the options.”
No further details are known. The foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment, while Cheong Wa Dae declined to comment. The Japanese Embassy in Seoul said it hasn’t been notified of any such plan from Tokyo.
Top Japanese officials, including Foreign Minister Taro Kono, have been stepping up criticism against South Korea over the Supreme Court’s decision ordering the Japanese steel company Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal to pay 100 million won to each plaintiff.
Japan’s far-right Sankei Shimbun newspaper said the Japanese government would file a suit against the South Korean government with the International Court of Justice unless Seoul paid the money.
The two countries have long clashed over the handling of Japan’s brutal colonial rule of Korea and its wartime history, particularly over female sex slaves.
A scenario of Yasumasa’s possible temporary return has emerged since the court ruling.
In January 2017, Japan withdrew its diplomats, Yasumasa and Yasuhiro Morimoto, the consul general in Busan, to protest a statue of a girl — commemorating wartime sex slavery — which South Korean activists had placed outside the Busan consulate.