Japan will temporarily recall its ambassador to South Korea, Nagamine Yasumasa, in protest at the installation of a girl's statue symbolizing Korean comfort women in front of the Japanese consulate-general in Busan, southern South Korea, Japan's top government spokesman said Friday.
Morimoto Yasuhiro, the consul-general in Busan, will also be recalled temporarily, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide told a press conference.
Tokyo decided the strong measures, believing that the installation of the statue goes against the spirit of a Japan-South Korea agreement reached in December 2015 to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the issue of women who were forced into prostitution for Japanese troops before and during World War II.
The Japanese government's action is expected to throw cold water on its relationship with Seoul, which has shown signs of improvement since the landmark agreement, pundits said.
The statue in Busan, erected late last month by a South Korean civic group, is the second of its kind, after one in front of Japan's embassy in Seoul, which was set up in December 2011.
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Japan's Foreign Ministry has protested to South Korea over a video clip that calls the body of water between the Japanese archipelago and the Korean Peninsula the "East Sea" instead of the "Sea of Japan". (NHK)