South Korean civic groups protest Japanese PM's visit



Representatives from several South Korean civic groups rallied over the weekend in front of the presidential office and city center of Seoul to protest Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's two-day visit to Seoul.

Kishida arrived in South Korea on Sunday and held talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.

During the protest, demonstrators chanted slogans and held signs with messages such as "Japan must apologize for forced labor," "Condemn the discharge of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the sea," "Oppose South Korea-U.S.-Japan military cooperation," and "Condemn the Yoon government's humiliating diplomacy towards Japan."

Representatives of the civic groups also delivered speeches expressing their dissatisfaction with the Japanese government's attitude towards past aggression and the Yoon government's foreign policy towards the U.S. and Japan.

The protesters demanded that Japan face up to its past, apologize sincerely for historical issues such as forced labor and "comfort women," and compensate the victims and their families.

When the Japanese government has not shown a corresponding attitude, the South Korean government has accelerated the improvement of South Korea-Japan relations, which is humiliating diplomacy, they added.

"Should Japan become a shameless country that has committed illegal crimes and does not know how to reflect on it, or should it admit colonial and war crimes, continue to apologize and compensate for history, and become a mature country? The Japanese government must make a choice," a representative said.

In addition to historical issues, the demonstrators also expressed their opposition to the Japanese government's decision to discharge nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean.

They also opposed the increasing diplomatic ties and cooperation between South Korea, Japan, and the U.S., which they believe is not conducive to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and may even put the region at risk of war.

The civic groups at the rally announced that demonstrations would be held simultaneously in multiple areas of Seoul and that protests would continue in front of South Korea's presidential office during Kishida's visit.