Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly decided to attend the 2018 Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea. That is the right decision. It is also reported that he did so because of concern that North Korea's overture to Seoul risks a rupture in the united front toward Pyongyang that is the only real hope for a breakthrough in the ongoing nuclear crisis. That is the wrong reason. Abe should go to the games because doing so sends a powerful signal of Japan's desire for strong ties with South Korea and because it will demonstrate the need to — and desirability of — prioritizing national interests above domestic politics.

The 2015 "comfort women" agreement was supposed to provide a "final and irreversible" solution to the controversy that has dogged ties between the two countries. It has not worked as promised. South Korean President Moon Jae-in upheld a campaign promise to investigate how the deal was negotiated. Despite concluding that there were flaws in that process and in its final content, his government said that it would honor the deal. Moon and Foreign Minister Kang Kyun-wha have both acknowledged that the deal was final but each has also added that they hoped Japan would do more to help heal the wounds of the victims.

In response, Abe is reported to have said that Japan would not move "one millimeter" on the deal, while Foreign Minister Taro Kono replied in an official statement that it would be "unacceptable" for Seoul to make attempts to revise the agreement and that "We can by no means accept South Korea's demands for additional measures."