Suga Blames South Korea for Souring Relationship With Japan
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, takes his daily morning walk in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Keith Bedford/Bloomberg)

Suga Blames South Korea for Souring Relationship With Japan

(Bloomberg) --

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said South Korea is responsible for the worsening relationship with Japan.

“Why has the Japan-South Korea relationship soured this much?” Suga said on a TV Asahi program Sunday. “I think it’s all South Korea’s fault.”

Suga Blames South Korea for Souring Relationship With Japan

The heart of the problem, Suga said, is that South Korea has failed to observe the agreements reached in 1965 when the two nations normalized relations. His comments echoed what Foreign Minister Taro Kono wrote in an opinion piece for Bloomberg on Sept. 4. The Sankei Newspaper reported on Sunday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering appointing Kono as defense minister in an upcoming cabinet reshuffle, citing unidentified people.

Tensions between the two nations have been mounting recently, with Japan removing South Korea from a list of preferred trading partners and South Korea terminating an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan.

On Sept. 7, South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Kim In-chul said in a letter to the Wall Street Journal that Japan has “stonewalled dialogue and instead retaliated on the trade front,” accusing it of “historical revisionism.”

Suga said on the TV program that he is not considering running for premier after Abe and that he hasn’t seen a surge in consumer demand ahead of a 2% sales tax increase in October. The previous rise in sales tax in 2014 triggered a whiplash in consumption before and after the increase, leading to an economic contraction

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