Strained Seoul-Tokyo ties remain on 55th year of diplomatic relations
On this day in 1965, twenty years after South Korea was liberated from Japan's colonial rule,...Seoul and Tokyo signed historic agreements normalizing their ties.

Those treaties opened a new chapter for their bilateral cooperation, but left major issues unresolved to this day.

Lee Kyung-eun lays out those and tells us where the two countries stand now.

Fifty-five years have passed since Seoul and Tokyo established diplomatic relations, but their ties are chillier than ever.

The key dispute stems from their different interpretation of the definition of Japan's colonization, which is closely linked to the issue of wartime forced labor.

The 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations says,... all treaties or agreements concluded between two sides during the colonial rule on or before August 22, 1910 are quote “already null and void."

South Korea believes the term means nullifying the justification of the annexation.

It was seen that way by the South Korean Supreme Court that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean forced laborer while clearly stating such an act was illegal.

However, Tokyo insists that "nullify" means terminating the previous treaties that were legally signed.

Another source of tension comes from the Agreement on Property and Claims on Economic Co-operation" that says the agreement "terminates individuals' rights to file independent damage suits".

South Korea's top court saw that those "suits" do not include cases of infringement of human rights ...deciding to freeze the local assets of a local Japanese steel company that refused to compensate the victims.

Japan responded by sending a strong warning of retaliation upon the sell-off of the company,...while insisting Seoul had violated international law for not abiding by the deal.

Most recently, their ties have been further strained over Japan's UNESCO-listed wartime industrial facilities.

The country has so far has not kept its promise to address its past use of Korean forced labor at its recently established information center built on the infamous Hashima Island,...prompting South Korean officials to send a letter requesting UNESCO to remove the listing.

Against this backdrop, the Seoul-Tokyo trade spat continues at the World Trade Organization, and is unlikely be settled anytime soon.

News source: ARIRANG NEWS
Jul 12
Two U.S. Marine bases in Okinawa have been put on lockdown by the military with 61 coronavirus cases confirmed this week, the prefectural government said Saturday. (Kyodo)
Jul 11
Tokyo has been seeing a resurgence of coronavirus infections since the start of the month, with several days in a row of over 100 new cases and the most recent daily figure, announced on July 9, hitting 224, the highest ever for the capital. With that background, it’s to a mixed response that Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward has announced a new coronavirus response program. (
Jul 11
An Osprey transport aircraft has arrived at Camp Kisarazu in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, for temporary deployment by the Ground Self-Defense Force, or GSDF. (NHK)
Jul 10
Officials of Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward say they will offer 100,000 yen, or about 930 dollars, to residents infected with the coronavirus. (NHK)
Jul 07
Japan will relax its coronavirus-induced rules on holding big events from Friday as planned, boosting the maximum number of people allowed at an indoor venue to 5,000, a minister said Monday. (Kyodo)
Jul 07
Infectious disease experts are feeling a sense of distrust with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic, amid signs that the disease is beginning to spread again. (Japan Times)
Jul 04
Japan is considering a package of law revisions to step up its fight against the coronavirus by strengthening the authorities of central and prefectural governments, such as introducing punishment for those refusing to follow business suspension or quarantine orders, government sources said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Jul 04
The Japanese government on Friday unveiled a draft growth strategy that promotes cashless payments and diverse workstyles, responding to the needs of the post-coronavirus era. (Kyodo)
Jul 04
Japan's industry minister says his ministry plans to study drawing up a roadmap to reduce coal-fired power generation, while aiming to accelerate a shift toward renewable energy. (NHK)
Jul 03
Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko has called on people to refrain from visiting nightlife districts where coronavirus infections are on the rise. (NHK)