Why Japan doesn’t trust President Yoon Seok-yeol of South Korea
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There is a certain irony in raising the issue of trust on Japan’s part with respect to South Korea. This is viewed in South Korea from the perspective of being among the last countries in the world to be formally colonized in the modern era. Japan imposed it’s imperial rule over Korea by force, formally annexing Korea in 1910, regardless of their revisionist contentions to the contrary. Substantial Japanese military interventions and other uses of force in South Korea began in earnest in 1894. This post is based, in large part, on Hosaka Yuji’s June 25 youtube presentation on the issue of Japanese lack of trust in South Korea’s new conservative President Yoon Seok-yeol.*
*[일본직격] 일본이 윤석열을 의심하기 시작했다
Japanese suspicion of Yoon Seok-yeol has begun, June 24 OhMyNews youtube.
It is easiest to grasp the issue when the two-faced opportunistic quality of Yoon’s behavior is understood. This point is made near the end of Hosaka Yuji’s presentation when he discusses the Japanese right’s perspective as explained by Professor Nishioka Sutomu. Nishioka Sutomu notes that although Yoon and his principal functionaries come from the legal world in South Korea, they have demonstrated a proclivity to engage in unlawful politically motivated prosecutions. Nishioka cites the cases of former president Park Geun-hye and former justice minister Cho Guk as examples of opportunistic use of the law by Yoon to achieve his own political objectives.
(Source- 이재명은 합니다 youtube 6.27.22 내 말이 틀렸어?) Right here, the culprit who carried out the impeachment, Yoon Seok-seol. Yoon Seok-yeol in photo op with former former president Park Geun-hye.
It is relatively easy to understand why the Japanese right looks unfavorably at the impeachment and prosecution of Park Geun-hye. She stood by the 1965 agreement normalizing Japan-South Korean relations, negotiated by her pro-Japanese father, former dictator Park Chung-hee. Park Geun-hye also agreed to a settlement with Japan of the so called comfort women dispute for a relatively small sum of about 9 million dollars. Additionally, her administration blocked progress and final judgement in litigation in South Korea brought against Japanese corporations for their use of Korean slave labor during the wartime period. Yoon was a principal player on the legal team that prosecuted Park Geun-hye after her impeachment. Yoon later directed the prosecution of Cho Guk and his wife. In the instance of the slave labor cases, it’s arguable that the Japanese government was the party seeking to interfere in Korea’s domestic judicial process.
(Source- 열린공감TV youtube 7.21.20) Former Justice Minister Cho Guk was expected to lead the reform of the administration of justice in South Korea, instead he was forced out of office by indictments against family members brought under the direction of Yoon Seok-yeol, then Prosecutor General of South Korea. Cho Guk’s wife is currently serving a four year prison term and he is undergoing criminal prosecution currently.
The Japanese legal observer Sutomu noted that former Justice Minister Cho Guk was politically targeted by Yoon and his “division” in the public prosecutors office because he was the flag bearer for the democratic party’s effort to reform the administration of justice in South Korea. In other words, Yoon sought to protect the arbitrary political power of his office as Prosecutor General at that time with a politically motivated and unjust prosecution. So the gist of the Japanese LDP right’s view of Yoon is that he is opportunistic and is likely conduct South Korean affairs in an “unlawful” manner, in other words, inconsistent with the Japanese legal positions on the various disputes now pending between South Korea and Japan.
Some signs of Yoon’s unreliability and opportunism are evident in his announcement of his presidential candidacy at the Patriot Yoon Bong-kil Memorial on June 29, 2021. Yoon Bong-kil is regarded as a terrorist in Japan. He brought a bomb to a park in Shanghai on Aprii 29, 1932, to kill Japanese officials at an event to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday. A Japanese government official was killed along with an Imperial Army general who died from his wounds. Other Japanese dignitaries were seriously wounded. Patriot Yoon Bong-kil was arrested and later executed by the Japanese. In his candidacy annoucement, Yoon Seok-yeol tried to bridge the independence movement v. pro-Japanese rift in South Korean domestic politics by condemning the politics of the prior Moon administration as “Bamboo Spear Song” demagogy damaging to South Korean Japanese relations.* It appears that Japan didn’t get the subtlety of Yoon’s hypocrisy. As the prospective conservative candidate for president he had to placate the pro-Japanese collaborator legacy elites who traditionally have strongly influenced the conservative parties in South Korea since 1948. At the same time he used the venue to appeal to popular South Korean anti-Japanese nationalism. This sort of posturing by Yoon led to characterizations by otherwise knowledgeable observers that Yoon was a “centrist” and a “populist,” when there is really nothing further from the truth, Yoon is far right.
*죽창가 Bamboo Spear Song
(Source- OhMyNewsTV youtube 6.25)
Then presidential candidate Yoon poses with a picture of independence movement patriot Ahn Jung-gun. Professor Hosaka Yuji (left) an expert in Japanese-Korean relations produces the program 일본직격 (Direct Hit Japan).
During his campaigning, Yoon posed with a picture of another Korean independence movement patriot Ahn Jung-geun, at his memorial site at Hyochang Park, August 15, 2021, Liberation Day (from Japan). Patriot Ahn is known for assassinating the former Governor General of South Korea, and first Prime Minister of Japan, Ito Hirobumi, in Harbin, China, October 26, 1909. He was arrested and later hanged by Japan for his act, perceived as terrorism in Japan. The humiliating Treaty of Eulsa had been forced on South Korea by Japan in 1905, making the Chosun dynasty a Japanese protectorate.
(Source- OhMyNewsTV youtube 6.25)
Next, on September 11, 2021, Yoon met with Lee Yong-su, a “comfort woman” survivor at the Comfort Woman Memorial Museum. Yoon promised to Lee that he would obtain an apology from the Japanese government for what they had done to Korean women as sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII. This pledge by Yoon on the campaign trail is completely contrary to the Japanese revisionist view of their WWII history in which the comfort women are described as prostitutes who volunteered to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers for pay.
Naturally, there are the other disputes between Japan and South Korea, including Japan’s territorial claims on the Dokdo islets which are controlled by South Korea. There are also disputes over UNESCO designations of Japanese historical sites, such as Gunhamdo (Battleship Island), Japan, where mines were worked by Korean slave laborers “conscripted” during WWII. There are the relatively recent so called “maritime patrol” incidents,* and the trade disputes which evolved as retaliation by Japan against South Korea for raising the other issues mentioned, primarily the slave labor court judgement finding Japanese corporations liable for damages to the victims.
*South Korea Protests Repeated Naval Encounters with Japanese P-1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft,
Yoon has demonstrated a pliable receptivity to US requests to improve relations with Japan. Unfortunately, Japan places all the blame on South Korea for their ongoing disputes, and claims it is the responsibility of the South Korean administration to apologize in respect to outstanding differences, admit that South Korea is wrong, and correct it ways. In a prior program, Hosaka Yuji characterized Japan’s curt responses to South Korean overtures for direct discussions and a summit as “Yakusa like,” reflecting a rude domineering attitude with no intention of engaging in negotiation or compromise, and demonstrating little respect for South Korea’s sovereignty.
June 29, 2022 at 1:52 PM #493528soryangParticipant
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Biden barely treats South Korea as an independent nation – why would he recognize its new leader? https://t.co/G8XAfGJrSg
— Tim Shorrock (@TimothyS) June 29, 2022
Joe Biden shakes the hand of the President of South Korea as if he’s the busboy at the party.
I was going to say that one has to wonder why President Yoon of South Korea bothered to go to the NATO get together in Madrid. However, Yoon is all about photo ops, with little on substance. There was a short video clip I saw inside the cabin of his flight to Europe, where he was asked by a reporter why he was going to Madrid, and he deferred giving a specific answer. Maybe because he couldn’t address the substantive issues.
The Europeans and Americans have it clear that the issues are to strengthen the alliance against both Russia and China in the ongoing cold war 2.0. So the question is, what is the point of aggravating China or Russia for South Korea? In any case, Yoon played his right wing pro-US, pro-Japan stance during the presidential campaign and just had a summit with President Biden in South Korea recently. So what’s the point? This video clip is just one of what is probably a series of diplomatic lapses in Madrid concerning Yoon. In another video clip, Yoon’s arrival in Madrid is another slap in face. There was no red carpet, no honor guard, apparently no official reception when he debarked his aircraft. Did he have to go through customs like a tourist, I wonder.
Was this treatment by NATO intentional or just the result of incompetence on the part of Yoon’s foreign policy team? He wasn’t invited to the G-7 “plus” meeting and Japan made it clear that there would be no (one on one) summit with Kishida, impromptu or otherwise, until this and this and that, etc. (there was a command three way summit South Korea-US-Japan in Madrid).
The question is what did Yoon get for his humiliating experience in Madrid?
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