Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Japan

Newsline: Japan and South Korea hail diplomatic thaw

The leaders of Japan and South Korea promised to turn the page on years of animosity at a meeting on Thursday, putting aside their difficult, shared history and saying they needed to work more closely to counter the region’s security challenges. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/south-koreas-yoon-seeks-friend-tokyo-amid-regional-tensions-2023-03-15/) The comments from South Korea’s Yoon Suk Yeol and Japan’s Fumio Kishida at a joint meeting in Tokyo highlight how the two U.S. allies have been pushed closer together by North Korea’s frequent missile launches, as well as growing concern about China’s more muscular role on the international stage. Yoon’s visit to Japan on Thursday was the first for a South Korean president in 12 years. The urgency of the regional security situation – and the threat posed by North Korea – were underscored in the hours before Yoon’s arrival, when the North fired a long-range ballistic missile that landed in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan. The two countries also agreed to drop an almost four-year-old trade dispute on the high-tech materials used for chips, an issue that has dogged their relationship even as the political importance of semiconductors, and securing their supply, has increased.

Newsline: Top Japan Diplomat to Skip G-20 Talks in India

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is unlikely to go to a meeting of G-20 foreign ministers in India from Wednesday due to a parliamentary committee meeting he is expected to attend, according to a government official. (https://news.yahoo.com/japan-top-diplomat-set-skip-032352872.html) It remains unclear whether Hayashi will be at a Friday meeting of the Quad nations, consisting of the US and Australia, alongside India, according to the official, who asked not to be identified in line with policy. The news was reported earlier by Japanese media, including the Nikkei newspaper. A deputy minister is likely to be dispatched in his place, the reports said.

Newsline: Japan’s top diplomat announces security talks with China

Japan and China will hold security talks next week, Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said after meeting his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. The agreement to hold the security talks, the first to be held in four years, came after Hayashi and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi spoke ahead of the conference. “It is important for us to have frank discussions precisely because there are a number of pressing matters in our relationship”, Hayashi said to reporters, highlighting a territorial spat in the East China Sea and increasing Chinese and Russian military presence around Japanese waters as some of the issues that need to be discussed. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/japan-china-hold-security-talks-next-week-japan-foreign-minister-says-2023-02-18/) The disputed East China Sea islets claimed by both China and Japan have long been a sticking point in bilateral relations. China calls the islands Diaoyu, while Japan calls them Senkaku. Japan and China will hold talks on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a statement released by Japan’s foreign ministry.

Newsline: Chinese embassy in Japan resumes visa issuance

A day after Chinese embassy in Japan said it had resumed the issuance of of ordinary visas for Japanese citizens travelling to the country, Tokyo pledged to continue monitoring COVID situation in China. Japan will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in China and deal “flexibly” with border control measures, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/japan-will-continue-monitor-covid-situation-china-govt-says-2023-01-30/) China had stopped issuing visas for Japanese nationals earlier this month after Japan toughened COVID-19 border control rules for travellers coming directly from China.

Newsline: Japan closes Haiti embassy

Japan has temporarily closed its embassy in Haiti due to the worsening security and humanitarian situation, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said on Monday. (https://news.yahoo.com/japan-temporarily-closes-haiti-embassy-231712480.html) It is unclear how soon the embassy will reopen, a ministry official said. Japan has been urging its citizens not to travel to Haiti for any reason and for nationals who already there to leave the country immediately. Haiti is facing acute fuel shortages due to a blockade by a coalition of gangs that are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, with economic activity coming to a halt and many hospitals forced to close or curtail their operations.

Newsline: Japan reopens embassy in Kyiv

Japan will reopen its embassy in Kyiv on Wednesday, the Japanese foreign ministry said in a statement. (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/japan-says-to-reopen-embassy-in-kyiv-on-wednesday-2771282) Japan temporarily closed its embassy in the capital on March 2.

Newsline: Japan expels Russian diplomat in retaliatory move

Japan gave a Russian diplomat six days on Tuesday to leave the country, according to the Japanese foreign minister. Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi’s office said on Tuesday that it summoned ambassador Mikhail Galuzin to notify him the unnamed diplomat is being expelled. The diplomat is based at the Russian Consulate General in Sapporo, Japan, a major northern city. Galuzin, the Russian ambassador to Japan, said the diplomat “did not engage in activities violating his authority” in a statement obtained by Kyodo News. (https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2022/10/04/japan-expels-russian-diplomat-retalliation/9241664899583/) The move comes after Russian officials accused Japan’s consul in the city of Vladivostok of espionage, detaining him for three hours before removing him from the country. Consul Tatsunori Motoki was declared persona non grata and returned home last week. Japan maintains his innocence. He was first detained in late September.

Newsline: Japan Demands Russian Apology Over Detention of Diplomat

Japan demanded an apology from Russia for what it saw as the unjust detention of one of its diplomats in Vladivostok, who Tokyo said was blindfolded and physically restrained after the Kremlin falsely accused him of spying. Top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told a regular news briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday that the diplomat committed no illegal activity and Russia had violated international conventions through the detention. “The treatment and accusations are absolutely unacceptable,” Matsuno said, adding the diplomat, who was detained on Monday, is facing no major health issues. (https://news.yahoo.com/japan-demands-russian-apology-over-024811870.html) Russia expelled a Japanese consul in Vladivostok, accusing the diplomat of paying for sensitive information. Tatsunori Motoki was given 48 hours to leave the country, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, according to Tass.

Newsline: Man arrested for possessing ‘gunpowder’ near US Embassy in Tokyo

A 26-year-old male student was arrested on charges of violating the explosives control law after he was found in possession of what appeared to be homemade gunpowder while near the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo last month. Before his arrest, Shogo Koyama, a university student from Suita, Osaka Prefecture, had been quoted as saying during voluntary questioning that he had “come to throw (explosives) into the embassy” after learning how to make the mixture online, according to investigative sources. (https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220920/p2g/00m/0na/054000c) Koyama is suspected of placing around 160 grams of gunpowder into a cloth-wrapped cup and carrying it in his pocket while on the street in front the embassy around 9 p.m. on Aug. 8. He was stopped by a police officer on duty who noticed him acting suspiciously. The police have searched locations including the man’s house in Osaka Prefecture in western Japan and seized what are believed to be ingredients needed to make gunpowder.

Newsline: Diplomats from Japan, US, South Korea reaffirm joint stance on North Korea

Diplomats from Japan, the United States and South Korea reaffirmed their commitment on Wednesday to working together in response to any threat from North Korea, including a possible new nuclear test. The three senior diplomats in charge of North Korean affairs also underscored their efforts to strengthen their security partnership. Takehiro Funakoshi, director-general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of Japan’s Foreign Ministry, said the focus of the trilateral cooperation is North Korea and its accelerating nuclear and missile development. Sung Kim, the U.S. special envoy for North Korea, said the three countries are prepared for “all contingencies … in responding to (North Korea’s) provocations” and to protect allies in the region. Kim Gunn, South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, called for further efforts to ensure full implementation of sanctions against North Korea under United Nations Security Council resolutions. Funakoshi said he and his U.S. and South Korean counterparts, Sung Kim and Kim Gunn, were to discuss their countries’ responses to North Korea as they work together to enhance regional deterrence amid “a looming possibility of further provocations including another nuclear test.” (https://wtop.com/asia/2022/09/japan-us-s-korea-reaffirm-joint-response-to-n-korea-threat/) North Korea last conducted a nuclear test, its sixth, in 2017, and experts have noted signs of preparations for another test.