TOKYO -- The Defense Ministry on Jan. 21 released a 'final' statement on a December incident in which a South Korean destroyer allegedly targeted a Japanese patrol aircraft with fire-control radar in the Sea of Japan, effectively terminating its discussions with Seoul on the matter.
The ministry also made public on its website what it says is the data of the radar waves converted to sound (Warning: high-pitched sounds) that the crew on the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) P-1 patrol plane heard on Dec. 20 during the radar lock-on incident. The data was presented by Japanese officials to South Korean officials in a meeting on Jan. 14 in Singapore and the Japanese side proposed to them to listen to it there but the proposal was turned down, the ministry stated.
The ministry said in the statement, written in English, Japanese and Korean, "careful and meticulous analysis" by its specialized unit confirmed that the P-1 aircraft was targeted multiple times by the South Korean destroyer's STIR-180 fire-control radar. The statement said that such an action is considered a "simulation of an attack" that a commander might avoid under the 2014 Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, which was adopted by navies from 21 countries including Japan and South Korea.
Because of South Korea's repeated denial of facts and joint verification, the ministry said, "it is unlikely that the truth will ever be made clear even if working-level meetings were to continue." The ministry, therefore, "deems that it has become difficult to continue to hold discussions" with Seoul on the matter. The ministry urged South Korea to accept that the radar incident did occur and take measures to avoid a recurrence.
Meanwhile, the ministry stated that its stance is unchanged that defense cooperation between Japan, South Korea and the United States is "extremely important" and "indispensable" in facing North Korean nuclear and missile threats and it will continue to make efforts to maintain the cooperative relationship.
South Korea's Ministry of National Defense on Jan. 4 released a video presentation it claimed showed the P-1 patrol plane flying on Dec. 20. The release followed footage Japan unveiled on Dec. 28 that Tokyo says shows the lock-on incident and that the P-1 crew was flying by the book. Seoul has denied the destroyer used the radar, and demanded an apology from Japan for having the plane fly low over the warship.