March 1 marked the 100th anniversary of a speech given by a student in a Seoul park declaring Korean independence. To commemorate the event, South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered an address in which he called for strengthening bonds between Japan and South Korea, which are severely frayed at present due to diplomatic frictions, most of which are related to Japan’s colonial rule of the peninsula between 1910 and 1945.
Moon’s tone of reconciliation was grudgingly noted by the Japanese government, although the Foreign Ministry took issue with the number of people Moon said had been killed in the uprising sparked by the 1919 declaration, saying there is still no historical consensus about the matter. Some members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party complained that the ministry’s message wasn’t strong enough. In any case, the ministry had issued a travel advisory to people planning trips to South Korea, warning Japanese about possible demonstrations on March 1.