• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 9:27am

Japan's prime minister calls South Korea a 'foolish country': magazine report

"Korea is a foolish country that isnt able to negotiate", says Abe, according to Japanese magazine report

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 2:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 2:25pm

South Korean internet users are fuming after a conservative Japanese magazine reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had called South Korea a "foolish country".

"China is an absurd country but it still knows diplomacy. Korea is a foolish country that isn't even able to negotiate," said Abe, according to a report published on Thursday in the Shukan Bunshun.

The article, entitled “Striking Korea’s weakness,” also revealed that Abe thought South Korean President Park Geun-hye was opposed to Japan because she had “treacherous subjects”, led by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, around her.

The report, written by an anonymous reporter, did not describe when or where Abe had made the comments.

Tokyo has not released a statement on the article but was aware of the story and should the government make a statement it will be posted on the foreign ministry's website, the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong told the South China Morning Post.

Japan recently considered implementing unofficial economic sanctions against South Korea in response to a recent court ruling requiring Japanese companies to pay compensation to South Korean workers who were conscripted by Japan during the second world war, said the article.

On Thursday, however, Abe met with South Korean lawmakers in Tokyo and said he wanted to talk to President Park before the end of the year to normalise ties between the two nations, which have been tense due to a maritime territorial dispute and what Seoul sees as Japan’s attempt to whitewash its wartime atrocities.

The discrepancy between the article and Abe's public remarks has raised questions about the credibility of Shukan Bunshun, the most well-known conservative weekly magazine in Japan.

Nationalistic Japanese media outlets take advantage of anti-Korean sentiment and write dubious stories short on facts to boost circulation, argued South Korean media.

Shukan Bunshun’s article worsens Korea-Japan relations and we express our serious concerns,” said a statement released on Friday by a group of Korean lawmakers visiting Japan this week.

“The Japanese government should recognise the negative impact the article has on Korea-Japan relations, establish the facts and take responsible measures,” they urged.

Abe’s supposed comments in the article caused a stir in South Korea, where the report was the hottest keyword on its biggest internet search portal Naver on Friday morning.

Many South Korean internet users said Abe’s alleged remarks were “reckless” and “ludicrous” and expressed their concerns over what appears to be growing nationalism in Japan.

“Abe’s record of shifting the country towards the right is impressive, with its apparent readiness to go to war with China over a territorial dispute and its potential revision of the constitution to allow collective self-defence,” said a Twitter user with the account @JunghoonYoon.

“I’m angry but what he said is true,” said another user with the Twitter account @slo_walker. “The Park Geun-hye administration is a mess.”

Others were more ambivalent, saying the South Korean government has its problems but it was not Abe’s place to say so.

Tokyo has not released a statement on the article but was aware of the story and should the government make a statement it will be posted on the foreign ministry's website, the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong told the South China Morning Post.


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What a short sighted strategy in Japan's foreign policy. Making enemies with neighbouring countries while building good relations with far away friends! Japan has been subordinated to the American since end of WW2, and the Americans have been using Japan like its jackal to try to contain China and the Russians because of the fear of communism then. The world has changed, It is time for Japan to change its strategy, or its future would be just on a downward trend on all fronts, not just political but also economic.
@John Adams, What kind of idiotic nonsense is this?
John Adams
... But of course South Korea IS a foolish country !
Have you ever tried to negotiate with a South Korean ?
If so how long did the negotiation last before the South Korean exploded in a fit of irrational, violent and uncontrollable temper ?
Our company's Chinese staff learned long ago that when it comes to dealing with South Koreans (even the South Koreans employed by our own USA parent company) there's only one thing to do : give up and give in ASAP before tempers start to flare beyond control. That's why our Chinese staff have as little to do as possible with South Koreans when they come to China . They have learned the hard way.
" 'The Koreans are so like the Irish’, someone had said to me back in Cheju. ‘They’re sweet and sentimental. They’re sad. They sing songs, and sad songs too. But if you get them angry, you’ll be terrified. They have a kind of anger that is unforgettable. They completely lose control of themselves. They’ve no idea what they are doing. It’s a frightening sight. Never make a Korean angry. You’ll come off worse if you do’. ".... quoted from Simon Winchester's : "Korea, A Walk Through the Land of Miracles"
Asia Pulse
Although Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is known to be an hawk, he is also a fine politician who seriously wants to have a summit with Korea. It seems very dubious he would have made that kind of remark. It seems to me, as a foreigner living in Japan, that this is rather a projection of a wishful thinking of a extreme right journalist.
Hey John, I am a man from the foolish country you are talking about and I am laughing out loud after reading your overly exaggerated generalization on our country and our people. How do you conclude your argument is statistically significant, or simply logical? Do you think you can justify your B.S. with just a few of your personal expriences? Or are you such a simple and biased person who believes that South Koreans are only human-beings having "irrational, violent, and uncontrollable temper"? According to you, I need to congratulate you on living in a hell without real humans. More than that, I am a US citizen who was born in South Korea. Would you tell me which US company you belong to has such "give up and give in ASAP" policy? I have to talk with racial activist groups here in the US about boycotting your products.


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