Anyone who wants to play a round of golf next year at the Anes Ville Country Club in Jeollabuk-do in southeastern South Korea will comply with a new condition: not to appear on Japanese cars.
The club announced this week that golfers arriving in cars made by companies such as Honda, Toyota, and Nissan will not be able to use its parking facilities — the club said this is a tribute to the victims of Japan’s 35-year occupation in Korea. The first half of the 20th century.
“Our goal is to commemorate the achievements of our ancestors in resisting the persecution of Japanese imperialism in order to protect this country and pass on freedom to future generations. We ask our customers to support this movement and our beliefs,” posted at the club Stated in the notice.
Golfers who own Japanese cars are not banned by the club itself, even if they are forced to make other parking arrangements. Once on the course, they will be able to use one of the club’s golf carts made in Japan to move around.
But this incident shows the lingering discomfort between the two countries, complicates economic and security cooperation, and defeats the Biden administration’s efforts to unite its Asian allies behind the US-led strategy of confronting China.
“The historical issue is still a big issue for Koreans, which complicates the relationship between the two countries,” said Choi Eun-mi, a Japanese expert at the Asan Policy Research Institute in Seoul. “Although many Koreans have a good impression of Japanese people and Japanese culture, they still have a bad impression of the Japanese government.”
Analysts in the two countries doubt whether relations between the two countries will improve after Fumio Kishida is appointed as the prime minister of Japan.
In 2015, when Japan and former South Korean President Park Geun-hye reached a historic agreement on the issue of wartime “comfort women” who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese occupation forces during World War II, Kishida served as foreign minister.
But after Park Geun-hye’s successor Moon Jae-in laughed at the deal as “seriously flawed,” the reconciliation process stalled in 2017. A year later, when the South Korean Supreme Court ordered a Japanese company to pay compensation to South Korean victims of forced labor, it completely collapsed.
In 2019, Japan imposed sanctions on South Korea’s critical supply of the semiconductor industry, provoking angry South Koreans to boycott Japanese goods.
Since then, a series of rulings by South Korean courts have exacerbated tensions. As Japan insists that all wartime issues are resolved in accordance with the terms of the bilateral treaty signed in 1965, the two countries are still in a diplomatic stalemate, while the South Korean government insists that it cannot interfere with the country’s judicial institutions.
Analysts said that Kishida had little incentive to negotiate with Seoul before the South Korean presidential election in March and the Japanese upper house elections next summer, adding that the “ball” is now in court in South Korea.
“Currently there is no prospect of improvement in relations between the two countries,” said Kotaro Ito, an expert on Korean issues at the Canon Global Institute.
Additional reporting by Kana Inagaki in Tokyo