There is currently a fresh spat between Japan and Korea over whether Japan will participate in multilateral naval exercises set to take place off Busan in late April – amid renewed hostility over Japan’s past colonisation of the Korean peninsula.

Tokyo and Seoul have sparred over decisions in South Korea’s top court requiring two of Japan’s biggest firms to pay compensation to Koreans forced into labour during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday said he would consider counter-measures to protect Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal assets from seizure by Seoul courts. Although simmering tensions between Japan and South Korea have led to protests on Seoul’s streets and calls to boycott Japanese products, the previous disputes have never escalated to the point where they caused serious economic damage.

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