Go to contents

Japanese Press: Roh’s Remarks Could Cause Friction Between Korea and Japan

Japanese Press: Roh’s Remarks Could Cause Friction Between Korea and Japan

Posted March. 01, 2005 22:36,   


Reporting in detail on President Roh’s urging of Japan to show remorse and pay reparations for its colonial rule at the commemoration event of the anniversary of the Independence Movement of March 1, 1919, the Japanese press conveyed that the chance for friction between the two countries concerning historical issues has increased despite maintaining an amicable mood for some time. The Japanese government did not express any official response regarding President Roh’s remarks yesterday.

Kyodo News pointed out that [President Roh’s] uncomfortable emotions on Japan were exposed, commenting, “Upon the 40th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Korea and Japan, President Roh’s remarks showed that the enhancement of the bilateral relationship is difficult without Japan’s effort.”

Recalling President Roh’s remark that he “would not discuss historical issues during [his] term,” which he made at a July 2004 Korea-Japan summit, the Asahi Shimbun conveyed that President Roh’s tone was unprecedentedly strong. The newspaper interpreted that dissatisfaction over Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro’s repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine despite Korea and China’s protests, played a part.

The Mainichi Daily pointed out, “President Roh urged the Japanese government and people using strong expressions like ‘reparations’ because he believes that the responsibility to complement the insufficiency in the Korea-Japan Agreement also lies in Japan. He urged Japan to complement post-war reparations spontaneously, beyond legal limitations.”

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun pointed out that President Roh’s speech yesterday seems to have made careful consideration for the consensus by paying increased attention to historical issues as the Dokdo issue is reviving and the ruling party is embarking on a fact-finding project of historical truth in Korea.

A diplomatic source in Tokyo forecasted: “With President Roh’s official suggestion of the reparations issue, the post-war reparations problem has arisen as a current issue between the two countries. A fierce logical confrontation between Korea and Japan regarding the issue will be laid out in the future.”

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com