Japan Lowers Priority of S. Korea in Annual Defense Report


Tokyo, Sept. 27 (Jiji Press)--Japan lowered the priority of South Korea in terms of security cooperation in its annual defense white paper released Friday, amid deterioration in the bilateral relationship.

In a chapter discussing Japan's security cooperation with countries other than the United States, the key alliance partner, the fiscal 2019 defense white paper listed South Korea in fourth place after Australia, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

In the fiscal 2018 paper, South Korea was in second place after Australia.

Negative responses of South Korea are affecting defense cooperation and exchanges between Japan and South Korea, said the latest white paper, which was reported by Defense Minister Taro Kono at a cabinet meeting the same day.

The report referred to a request made by South Korea for Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels to refrain from flying the "kyokujitsuki" rising sun flag during an international fleet review off South Korea's Jeju Island held in October last year.

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