South Korea’s Moon pledges action against Japan’s ‘unfair’ trade move
Robie de Guzman • August 3, 2019 • 1184
South Korea fired back at Japan over a deepening trade dispute on Friday (August 2), pledging it would not be “defeated again” by its neighbour, laying bare decades-old animosity at the root of a row over fast-track export status.
Addressing his ministers during a rare live television broadcast of his cabinet, South Korean President Moon Jae-in threatened countermeasures after Japan’s cabinet approved the removal of South Korea’s fast-track export status from Aug.28.
“If Japan attempts to harm our economy, the Korean Government also has countermeasures with which to respond.,” he said.
“Even at this moment, the Korean Government does not want a vicious cycle of tit-for-tat. There is only one way to stop this. The Japanese Government must withdraw its unilateral and unwarranted measures as soon as possible and take a path toward dialogue,” he added.
Cutting South Korea from a so-called “white list” of favoured export destinations could require Japanese exporters to obtain permits, potentially slowing down exports of a wide range of goods that could be used to produce weapons.
“What we take even more seriously is the fact that these moves by the Japanese Government carry the clear intention to attack and hurt our economy by impeding our future economic growth,” Moon said.
Relations between the two U.S. allies began to deteriorate late last year following a row over compensation for wartime forced labourers during Japan’s occupation, but the language used by President Moon was the starkest yet. (REUTERS)
People in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday (May 26) woke up to their first day with loosened social distancing curbs, after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency for all areas in the country on Monday (May 25).
Tokyo and the three surrounding prefectures, as well as Hokkaido were the last remaining areas under emergency.
Many residents welcomed the government’s decision to end the emergency, though most said they are still alert for the virus since more people are out on the streets.
“I’m still a bit worried. There may be a second wave of an epidemic so we still need to be alert,” said 45-year-old Naoto Furuki who said the trains were a lot more crowded with commuters this morning.
With the emergency order lifted, Tokyo will move into “stage one” of loosening restrictions, allowing libraries and museums to reopen, and restaurants to stay open until later in the evening. Subsequent stages would see theatres, cinemas and fairgrounds reopen.
Company employee Daisuke Tominaga is happy that the emergency state is over, saying that the Japanese economy will collapse if businesses and people have to continue to live under restrictions.
“I want to go out drinking and attend concerts,” he said enthusiastically.
Many shops and restaurants have restarted operations since the government began lifting the emergency in rural and suburban areas earlier this month, but some stores remain closed. (Reuters)
(Production: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Akiko Okamoto, Travis Teo)
South Korea’s largest airline Korean Air has enacted social distancing measures to protect travelers to allow for a return to the skies during the global coronavirus pandemic.
Starting from Monday (May 18), the airline has made it necessary for all passengers and staff on board to wear face masks, but other social distancing measures such as leaving empty seats between passengers began on March 9.
On Tuesday (May 19) hundreds of domestic travelers were seen in Seoul’s Gimpo Airport wearing face masks and scanning their own boarding passes during boarding.
South Korea’s aviation regulator is also requiring travelers’ temperatures be checked in airports. Airport authorities are also asking travelers to stand at least 1 meter (3 ft) apart and regularly apply hand sanitizer. (Reuters)
(Production: Dogyun Kim, Minwoo Park, Heejung Jung)
South Korean officials scrambled on Monday (May 11) to contain a new coronavirus outbreak that is threatening to spread throughout the densely populated capital city of Seoul, leading the country to reconsider plans to reopen schools.
Officials reported 35 new infections across the country as of midnight on Sunday (May 10), the second consecutive day of new cases of that magnitude and the highest numbers in more than a month, reinforcing fears the country could be entering a second wave outbreak.
Most of the new cases were linked to an outbreak at several Seoul nightclubs and bars. Authorities had tested 4,000 people who had patronised the night spots, but were still trying to track down around 3,000 more.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon pleaded with clubgoers to be tested, warning that people caught evading testing could be fined.
“If Seoul was infiltrated, the Republic of Korea will be infiltrated,” he said, noting the city currently has fewer than 700 of the nation’s 10,909 cases, which include 256 deaths.
The spike in cases comes just as the South Korean government was easing some social distancing restrictions and moving to fully reopen schools and businesses, in a transition from intensive social distancing to “distancing in daily life.” (Reuters)
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