Japan to Temporarily Recall Envoy to South Korea over Girl’s Statue (News)


Tokyo, Jan. 6 (Jiji Press)—Japan will temporarily recall its ambassador to South Korea, Nagamine Yasumasa, in protest at the installation of a girl's statue symbolizing Korean comfort women in front of the Japanese consulate-general in Busan, southern South Korea, Japan's top government spokesman said Friday.

Morimoto Yasuhiro, the consul-general in Busan, will also be recalled temporarily, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide told a press conference.

Tokyo decided the strong measures, believing that the installation of the statue goes against the spirit of a Japan-South Korea agreement reached in December 2015 to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the issue of women who were forced into prostitution for Japanese troops before and during World War II.

The Japanese government's action is expected to throw cold water on its relationship with Seoul, which has shown signs of improvement since the landmark agreement, pundits said.

The statue in Busan, erected late last month by a South Korean civic group, is the second of its kind, after one in front of Japan's embassy in Seoul, which was set up in December 2011.

Japan Urges South Korea to Remove Comfort Woman Statue in Busan

Washington, Jan. 5 (Jiji Press)—Japan urged South Korea on Thursday to immediately remove the statue of a girl symbolizing wartime Korean comfort women that was erected in Busan, southern South Korea.

The request was made by Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Sugiyama Shinsuke during a meeting with South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam in Washington.

According to Sugiyama, he told Lim that installing the statue is "totally unacceptable." The statue was erected late last year by a South Korean civic group in front of the Japanese consulate-general in Busan.

Sugiyama said that Japan has already provided one billion yen under a bilateral agreement reached in 2015 to resolve a dispute over the comfort women while waiting for South Korea to remove a similar statue erected in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.

Installing the new statue under such circumstances means that South Korea will unilaterally break the foundations of the important agreement, Sugiyama said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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