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Lawmakers criticize Japan-S.Korea defense talks

Lawmakers from Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party have criticized the recent unofficial talks between defense chiefs of Japan and South Korea.


Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya and South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo unofficially met in Singapore on Saturday, on the sidelines of the Asia Security Summit. It was their first meeting since a South Korean warship directed a fire-control radar at a Japanese Self-Defense Force plane last year, putting a strain on bilateral relations.


At a joint meeting of LDP lawmakers on Wednesday, former defense minister Itsunori Onodera urged caution in dealing with South Korea, saying the country has arbitrarily used Japan’s counterclaims about the radar issue.


Others said Iwaya should not have met his South Korean counterpart, even unofficially, because South Korea has yet to respond properly to wartime labor issues in addition to the radar targeting.


A Defense Ministry official noted the importance of working with South Korea in dealing with North Korea.


The official explained Iwaya’s stance that the various outstanding issues make it all the more important for the defense chiefs to candidly exchange views.

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