Since the beginning of the year, Japan's official relations with the Korean Peninsula have gone from bad to worse. Not a day goes by without a report about North Korea's latest provocation. Journalists, politicians, and pundits deliberate — one might say "geek out" — over whether the missile just fired by North Korea is of this or that type, what the military response by the United States might be if a nuclear device is tested, and, of course, what China might do.

With South Korea, the past continues to plague the bilateral relationship. At the forefront is Japan's anger at the establishment of "comfort women" statues by Korean groups to commemorate the Korean women forced to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Only last month did Tokyo return the Japanese ambassador to Seoul after he was withdrawn in January to protest a comfort women statue in Busan.