Tokyo, Jan. 9 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Nagamine Yasumasa returned to Japan on Monday afternoon, as part of Tokyo’s measures to protest against the installation of a “comfort women” statue in the South Korean city of Busan.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry also called back Morimoto Yasuhiro, Japanese consul-general in Busan, earlier in the day.
Nagamine is expected to stay in Japan for several days and consult with Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio about next steps.
Before departing for Japan, Nagamine told reporters at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul that the erection of the girl statue, which symbolizes Korean comfort women who were forced into prostitution for Japanese soldiers mainly during World War II, is “extremely regrettable.”
The temporary withdrawal of the two diplomats is among retaliatory measures announced by the Japanese government on Friday after the statue was set up by a civic group near the Japanese consulate-general in the South Korean city late last year.
South Korea Regrets Japanese Measures over Statue Issue
Seoul, Jan. 6 (Jiji Press)—South Korea expressed regret on Friday over Japanese measures protesting the establishment of a girl’s statue symbolizing Korean comfort women in front of the Japanese consulate-general in Busan, southern South Korea.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se conveyed his country’s position at a meeting with Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Nagamine Yasumasa. Their talks lasted about an hour.
The two sides agreed that their countries will implement a bilateral agreement reached in 2015 to resolve the issue of comfort women, who were forced to serve as prostitutes for Japanese troops in wartime.
Earlier on Friday, Japan announced the recall of the ambassador, a halt to bilateral negotiations on a currency swap pact and other measures in response to the establishment of the statue by a civic group last week. A similar statue stands in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
South Korea promised to make efforts to remove the statue in Seoul under the 2015 agreement to end the comfort women issue.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]