TOKYO: Japan said on Friday that it had decided to temporarily recall its ambassador to South Korea to protest the placing of a statue symbolising victims of Japanese wartime sex slavery outside its consulate in the city of Busan last month.
Chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga announced the move at a press conference along with additional measures that include postponing high-level economic discussions.
“The Japanese government finds this situation extremely regrettable,” he said.
Besides the recall of ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine, Suga also said Japan is ordering home its consul-general in Busan and suspending discussions over a Japan-South Korea currency swap.
“The Japanese government will continue to strongly urge the South Korean government as well as municipalities concerned to quickly remove the statue of the girl,” Suga said.
The statue was initially removed after being set up by South Korean activists in the southern port city.
But local authorities changed tack and allowed it after Japan’s hawkish defence minister offered prayers at a controversial war shrine in Tokyo last week. AFP