Ⓒ Joongang Ilbo/ Joongang Ilbo Japanese version2022.03.30 15:34
Expressions such as “forcibly taken away” and “military service” have been removed from high school textbooks that will be used in Japan from next year due to the injuries caused by former Japanese soldiers’ comfort women and their insistence on Dokdo (Tokudo, Japanese name: Takeshima) expanded, also raising historical questions. If Japan continues to “bash South Korea” as before, including such historical provocations, the “future-oriented improvement of relations” set by the Yoon Seok-woo government may not even be able to take the first step. .
◆ Contaminated water, Sado Jinshan… Scheduled minefields
Even if it wasn’t, “bombs” related to South Korea-Japan relations were scattered at the beginning of the Yoon administration’s tenure. Apart from the historical twist of passing the March-April Japanese textbook exam known as the “calendar provocation”, which is held around the same time every year, and the publication of the April Diplomatic Blue Book around next April. Discharge Fukushima-polluted water into the ocean. Then, around June, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided to designate the Sado Golden Mountains as a World Heritage Site.
About a year after the inauguration of the Yin government, large-scale and inferior materials with strong explosive power have been planned to explode one after another, and the trend of deteriorating relations between Japan and Japan cannot be stopped.
In addition, Japan has domestic political factors. Japan is preparing for an upper house election in July this year. It is said that the right-wing rallies in Japan will cause anti-Korean public opinion. The issue of the realization of assets in South Korea by Japanese companies sentenced to compulsory expropriation compensation is also a time bomb that may be detonated at any time due to the proceedings in South Korean courts.
So far, the establishment of a new government in South Korea has often been seen as an opportunity to reverse the relationship between South Korea and Japan. In particular, the relationship between South Korea and Japan has cooled to what is said to be the worst since Moon Jae-in took office for five years. Even if there is a change, it is an indisputable fact that expectations in Japan are high. Government alone. There is also a good opportunity to continue high-level engagement, such as sending special envoys around the time of the new president’s inauguration.
But the truth is that Japan can only take advantage of such an opportunity by opening up the smallest space in which South Korea can move. If Japan maintains this traditional stance of textbook provocation, the new government may have to decide on a policy direction to lower expectations, rather than responding to Japan’s rising expectations from the outset. come on.
In particular, mandatory provisions related to the victimization of comfort women have been removed from the textbook, which is the same as Japan’s violation of the Comfort Women Agreement of December 28, 2015. Japan agreed to resolve the comfort women issue “with the participation of the military at that time”, and “Prime Minister Abe once again expressed his sincere apology and remorse as the Prime Minister of Japan.”
It was Fumio Kishida, the current prime minister who was then foreign minister, who read the article in front of hundreds of domestic and foreign journalists. Japan has criticized South Korea for abandoning the comfort women agreement, but through this textbook distortion, it can be said to be a positive violation.
A former senior foreign ministry official said: “Every time Japan violates existing agreements on the issue of historical awareness, it diverts the target and turns the wheel of history in the opposite direction, but Yoon Suk — your government’s concerns too. Japan must also understand that even if it is resolved, the issue of historical consciousness cannot be retreated.”
◆ The day after Yoon-A’s interview with Sosei…
The Japanese textbook provocation, in particular, comes a day after Mr. Yoon and Japan’s ambassador to South Korea, Sang Seong-ichi, met for the first time after the presidential election and pledged to improve relations and cooperation. Mr. Yoon said, “If we vigorously promote South Korea-Japan relations in the future, even if other issues seem difficult, we can resolve them well through dialogue.” I was dragged away by a historical issue.
In particular, the main agenda of the day’s visit was to strengthen cooperation against the nuclear threat in the North. Mr. Yoon said, “We need closer cooperation between South Korea, the United States and Japan to convince North Korea that nuclear weapons do not do any good.” Ambassador Aboshi responded, “North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations are extremely dangerous to Japan and South Korea’s security. It is a major threat and a serious challenge to the international community.”
With North Korea breaking its moratorium (nuclear test, long-range ballistic missile launch grace) and raising the provocative water level for the first time in about four years, the conflict between South Korea and Japan will not only be a mutual aid and US between South Korea and Japan, but also a South Korea-US alliance. , so there are concerns that it may have adverse effects.
◆ Convince domestic public opinion that it is impossible for Japan not to change
Diplomacy with Japan is a diplomatic field, but it is also a domestic political field. The fact is that no matter how reasonable a policy is, it will be unsustainable without the support of public opinion. This is the reason why the past government has been caught “on the cusp of South Korea-Japan relations” regardless of maintaining or advancing. If you only focus on diplomacy, face domestic opposition, be influenced by domestic public opinion, or use anti-Japanese sentiment for political purposes, the relationship will suddenly turn cold.
When considering the complexities of diplomacy with Japan, the main argument is that Japan should prepare some conditions for improving Korea-Japan relations with the Yoon Seok-woo government. Some people pointed out that if Japan does not change its attitude, the will of the South Korean government is limited, which makes “bashing South Korea” a daily routine since the Moon Jae-in administration.
In this regard, Professor Won-deok Lee of the Department of Japanese Studies at the National University of China said: “On the one hand, the Yoon Shin-Etsu government is fighting against the right wing of the Japanese government, and on the other hand, the efforts of the conservative government to improve Korea-Japan relations coincide with domestic public opinion. On the task of creating a “two-sided game”.”