Some TV stations in Tokyo asked me last week to comment live on the moribund Japan-South Korea relationship. I asked them if there were any other topics and whether they were still obsessed with South Korea. The producers of the programs replied that no other topic can get higher ratings these days.

They're probably right. Almost everybody in Japan seems not only know the full name of South Korea's new justice minister, Cho Kuk, and many Japanese seem to know about his wife and children as well as the potential criminal charges they face in an investigation by the Public Prosecutors' Office in Seoul.

Maybe the Japanese and the South Koreans are the only two nations who know so much about the justice minister. The Cho scandal, however, is much more than a simple domestic power struggle between the progressives and the conservatives in South Korea.