On Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office announced that the President will not travel to Japan for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, on Friday. The office said that the two countries did not succeed in setting up a summit between the leaders in order to settle and resolve historical disputes.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan have been encouraged by President Biden to strengthen their relationship as the U.S. wishes to see more cooperation between its two allies in Asia. The two countries have seen bilateral ties fall short in matters relating to history, trade, and military cooperation. The lack of allied relationships is hurting the two countries and affecting the trilateral relationship between South Korea, Japan, and the U.S., while making its enemies including China and North Korea stronger in the region.
In the midst of all these problems, according to JTBC, Hirohisa Soma, deputy chief of mission at the Japanese embassy passed lewd remarks about the South Korean President. He said that Moon would be “masturbating” if he thought that there would be a summit between the two leaders as Suga had more important things to attend to, than the relationship between the two countries.
A senior South Korean official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the JTBC report had an effect on the discussions between the two countries, regarding the proposed visit to Japan, which was later called off. Seoul said that their talks had faced a “last-minute obstacle.”
Prime Minister Suga told reporters that Soma’s remarks were “very inappropriate and regrettable.” However, Katsunobu Kato, the Chief Secretary said that no decision had been taken on Soma’s dismissal or any other action after his unbecoming behavior.
Hwang Hee, the minister of culture, sports and tourism of South Korea will lead his country’s athletes and others at the Tokyo Olympics.
Image Janne Wittoeck