By Oh Hyun Woo and Kim Minji
President Moon Jae-in on Aug. 29 blasted Japan's attitude of not reflecting on the past and distorting it.
In the 37th special Cabinet meeting on Japan's removal of Korea from its whitelist of preferential trading partners, he said, "No matter what excuse it invokes as justification, the Japanese government has clearly linked historical issues to economic matters. I have no other choice but to point out that its attitude is very disingenuous."
"Japan must be honest with the past."
The president said, "The Japanese government is trying to rationalize its economic retaliation by baselessly shifting its rhetoric as frequently as necessary." He also criticized Japan's attitude of not being honest about past issues, including its territorial claim to the Dokdo islands.
"It is an immutable fact that Japan was the perpetrator behind unfortunate chapters of history not only in Korea but also in many other Asian countries," he said. "The attitude of the Japanese government, which neither acknowledges nor repents its past wrongdoings but rather distorts history, only aggravates the wounds and anguish of the victims."
President Moon suggested that Japan learn from Germany, which reflected on and admitted its past wrongdoings to become a trusted country in the international community.
On Aug. 28, the president attended the groundbreaking ceremony for an eco-friendly car parts plant of Hyundai Mobis, a company that brought its overseas operations back to Korea. He pledged support for so-called U-turn businesses that bring investment and operations home as part of government policy toward boosting economic independence.