South Korea and Japan will sign a landmark military agreement today, officials said, despite controversy over what would be the first such accord since Tokyo’s colonial rule ended in 1945.
Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and South Korea’s ambassador Shin Kak-Soo will sign the pact on the “protection of classified information” in Tokyo, Seoul foreign ministry spokesman Cho Byung-Jae said on Thursday.
Many older Koreans have bitter memories of Japan’s brutal 1910-45 colonial rule and military cooperation is a sensitive issue.
But media reports said the two nations hope to expand defense cooperation amid increasing military threats from North Korea, especially after the death of leader Kim Jong-Il last December.
The pact calls for sharing intelligence about North Korea and its nuclear and missile programs among other topics, Yonhap news agency has said.
Watchdog group Citizens Coalition for Economic Justice said the pact would help Japan’s rearmament and pave the way for its troops to set foot on the Korean peninsula.