Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

South Korea's President Moon scraps visit to Japan for Olympics: Blue House

SEOUL (REUTERS) – South Korean President Moon Jae-in has decided not to visit Japan for the Tokyo Olympics, his office said on Monday (July 19).

The announcement comes after plans to hold the first in-person summit between the leaders of both nations hit a snag over a disparaging comment by a Japanese diplomat about the South Korean president, the latest flare-up between the fractious neighbours.

Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper reported President Moon will visit Tokyo and hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday (July 23) to coincide with the start of the Tokyo Olympics.

But both governments on Monday denied a meeting had been finalised, with Moon’s office citing a “last minute obstacle”.

South Korea reacted with anger and lodged a protest with Tokyo after a broadcaster last Friday quoted a senior diplomat at Japan’s embassy in Seoul as saying Moon was “masturbating” when describing the leader’s efforts to improve ties with Tokyo.

The political uproar inflamed already fraught diplomatic relations between the two countries over issues including territorial disputes and their wartime history, and cast further doubts over the hope that the Tokyo Games would be an occasion to kickstart momentum for regional cooperation.

Suga and Moon were planning to discuss issues that have strained relations over generations, including compensation for people forced to work in Japanese firms and military brothels during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule, the Yomiuri report said.

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