Seoul Expresses Displeasure with Koizumi Seoul Yesterday Expressed Profound Displeasure with a Series of Recent Remarks and Actions by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Other Japanese Leaders, Which Might Further Aggravate Already Frozen Bilateral Ties
The Korean government has already boycotted annual ministerial talks and called off a joint Naval exercise to protest Tokyo's approval of history textbooks which whitewash Japan's misdeeds during the 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.
In a strong diplomatic appeal, a Foreign Affairs-Trade Ministry official urged Koizumi to scrap his avowed plan to visit a war shrine dedicated to Japan's war dead, including convicted World War II criminals, on Aug. 15, the anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of the war.
He issued the comment in response to Koizumi's statement at a parliament session in Tokyo on Wednesday when he, vowing to visit the Yasukuni Shrine ``at any cost,'' asked Asian neighbors to end their opposition to the annual pilgrimages by Japanese politicians.
The official also took issue with the Japanese parliament's recent decision to further defer a debate on whether to grant permanent Korean residents of Japan the right to vote in local elections.
Some Japanese press organizations described the decision as a virtual scrapping of a law bill on Koreans' suffrage, which has been one of the top- priority agenda items in bilateral talks for the past several years.
What further hurt the sentiment of Korean officials handling Japan-related affairs was a report by the Yomiuri Shimbun, a local Japanese daily, that the Japanese government decided to shelve Emperor Akihito's proposed visit to Seoul next year, timed with the co-hosting of World Cup soccer finals.
As for the reasons, the newspaper cited security concerns and North Korea's opposition to the visit, as well as the recent row on Japan's revision of school textbooks which gloss over wartime atrocities.
Expressing anger at the report, the official said that the Japanese government might be attempting to transfer the responsibility for the possible cancellation of the emperor's trip to the Korean side. …