South Korean President Moon Jae-in scrapped plans to attend the Tokyo Summer Olympics and meet Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, his office said Monday – after a senior Japanese diplomat said the leader was “masturbating” if he thought he’d have a summit with Suga.
The two countries had been in talks about holding a top-level encounter during the Games to improve relations that have plunged to their worst level in years over historical disputes.
But things went sour after a Japanese diplomat at the embassy in Seoul reportedly likened the South Korean president’s efforts to pleasuring himself.
“President Moon is masturbating himself,” Soma told a reporter at a South Korean cable news station Friday, according to The UK Times.
“Japan does not have the time to care so much about the relationship between the two countries as South Korea thinks.”
The Japanese ambassador reprimanded his deputy Hirohisa Soma for his “highly inappropriate” comments, but a Blue House official on Monday said the comment was “difficult to tolerate”.
Although Seoul and Tokyo had “meaningful discussions” on historical issues, the progress was deemed “still insufficient,” the Blue House said.
In Tokyo, Suga voiced “regret” over the comments, telling reporters: “They are extremely inappropriate remarks.”
He added: “Regardless, we want to firmly communicate with the South Korean side… to bring the Japan-South Korean relationship to a sound place.”
Kyodo News, quoting an unnamed government source, reported that Tokyo plans to “remove” Soma from his role because of his controversial remarks.
The relations between Japan and South Korea, both major US allies, are strained by ongoing disputes over compensation for Japan’s early-20th-century colonial rule over the Korean peninsula.
Hwang Hee, Seoul’s sports and culture minister, will lead South Korea’s delegation to the Olympics, which kick off on Friday.
With Post wires