The two countries were in talks to hold a high-level meeting during the Games to improve relations which have plunged to their worst level in years due to historic disputes.
But things took a turn for the worse after a Japanese diplomat at the Seoul embassy reportedly compared the South Korean president’s efforts to indulge himself.
“President Moon is masturbating,” Soma told a reporter for a South Korean cable news channel on Friday, according to The UK Times.
“Japan doesn’t have time to care as much about the relationship between the two countries as South Korea thinks. “
The Japanese ambassador berated his deputy Hirohisa Soma for his “highly inappropriate” comments, but a Blue House official said on Monday that the comment was “difficult to tolerate”.
Although Seoul and Tokyo had “meaningful discussions” on historical issues, progress was deemed “still insufficient,” the Blue House said.
In Tokyo, Suga expressed his “regrets” for the comments, telling reporters: “These are extremely inappropriate remarks. “
He added: “Anyway, we want to communicate firmly with the South Korean side…
Kyodo News, citing an anonymous government source, reported that Tokyo was planning to “remove” Soma from his role because of his controversial remarks.
Relations between Japan and South Korea, two of the United States’ main allies, are strained by ongoing disputes over compensation for early 20th-century Japanese colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula.
Seoul Minister of Sports and Culture Hwang Hee will lead the South Korean delegation to the Olympics, which begin on Friday.
With post wires