All papers reported that the Japanese Defense Ministry lodged a protest on Wednesday with the South Korean Defense Ministry over remarks made on Tuesday by its spokesperson regarding the radar incident. The Japanese side reportedly took issue with her explanation that during bilateral talks on the matter held in Singapore on Monday, Japanese defense officials asked Seoul to disclose all relevant data in exchange for Japan’s submission of partial information. In the protest filed with an ROK military attaché stationed in Tokyo, MOD said the ROK spokesperson’s account was not true and requested a retraction. Sankei quoted an unnamed senior MOD official as saying: “The Koreans not only violated their commitment not to disclose the details of the closed-door meeting, but also provided a bogus account of it. The relationship of trust has been completely ruined.”
Asahi separately claimed that during the Singapore session, the ROK participants criticized what they called the Japanese patrol plane’s dangerously low-altitude flight near the Korean warship on the scene by saying: “If Japan conducts such flights, we will do the same instead of sitting idly by.” According to the article, the Japanese side replied by saying that no reckless flight took place. An ROK military source reportedly told the paper that South Korea has clear evidence that the fire-control radar was not activated.
In a related development, Asahi and Sankei took up South Korean Foreign Minister Kang’s press conference in Seoul on Wednesday. She reportedly said that in handling the requisitioned worker dispute with Japan, the Moon administration will “respect the judiciary process.” The papers asserted that with this remark, the Korean diplomat was suggesting that the ROK government will honor the recent court authorization to seize the financial assets of a Japanese steelmaker in South Korea. As for the comfort women issue, Kang reportedly indicated that the Moon administration is preparing to host an international conference on the subject by saying: “We are planning to take measures in the international community in the first half of this year so that the suffering of the victims will not be forgotten.”