Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Sankei wrote that Japanese and South Korean defense officials held a teleconference yesterday to discuss Tokyo’s allegation that an ROK Navy destroyer activated its fire control radar against an MSDF P1 aircraft in the Sea of Japan last week. The Korean side reportedly dismissed Tokyo’s statement that the alleged incident was regrettable and call for measures to prevent a recurrence by saying that its warship did nothing to endanger the Japanese patrol plane. The GOJ is reportedly set to release video today to prove the legitimacy of its claim. According to Yomiuri, the footage in question shows the close proximity of the ROK destroyer to the DPRK fishing boat, which the ROK side has said it was trying to locate by “search radar.” The Japanese side is reportedly confident that the video will prove that South Korea would not have had to use any type of radar in the first place since the DPRK trawler was close enough to be visible to the naked eye.
Asahi, Nikkei, and Sankei each carried prominent articles on the deterioration of relations between Japan and South Korea, chronicling a range of incidents hurting bilateral ties in the past year, such as the dissolution of the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation for comfort women and the ROK Supreme Court’s rulings ordering Japanese steel companies to pay redress to Koreans requisitioned to work at their plants during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. The dailies faulted the Moon administration for a series of steps that have frayed ties, with Asahi claiming that in the absence of Japan experts in the Blue House, the South Korean leader has attached more importance to his domestic supporters in conducting diplomacy toward Tokyo. Sankei wrote that Tokyo’s distrust of Seoul has reached a new peak, quoting an unnamed senior MOFA official as saying: “President Moon is not interested in Japan. I suspect that he doesn’t care about the prospects for Japan-Korean relations.”