According to this Yonhap piece, many South Korean citizens and citizen groups have criticized politicians for their lack of response and general inaction to the increased nationalism in Japan. Apparently, South Korean politicians are too busy with the upcoming presidential election that no one can or is willing to do anything about Abe's remarks denying government responsibility in coercing "comfort women" and new Japanese textbooks that gloss over wartime history and claim Dokdo as Japanese territory. This is especially notable given the U.S. political attention to these issues.
On the one hand, it seems that in the recent past, South Korean politicians have initiated political action to spur anti-Japanese sentiment, by protesting with the surviving comfort women at the Japanese embassy, releasing names of collaborators, adopting resolutions condemning Tokyo -- but all to little avail. Given the hegemonic power of Japan, little more could have been done without international attention from an even bigger power.
Still, I can agree with the comment from Chae Soo-young of the Citizens Forum for Comfort Women, that it is "shameful that our parliament did not have any resolution carried out when the resolution is expected to be adopted in the United States, where there is no direct sufferer."
The article comments that "with less than nine months to the presidential poll, parties are increasingly engrossed in attacking each other or regrouping to form a group with better chances of an election victory." Given how these contentious issues with Japan are deeply ingrained in the public consciousness, I'm a bit surprised at how politicians have not utilized these hot-button issues as a mechanism to gain popular support.
On another note, this article reminded me of Aaron Sorkin's wisdom in The American President, when Micheal Douglas, as President Shepherd admits, "I was too busy trying to keep my job, I forgot to do my job." If only all politicians (American, Korean, and Japanese) could live up to Sorkin's moral compass (sigh).