Japan's Defense Ministry plans to end discussions with South Korea over a radar incident due to apparent concern that bilateral relations could worsen further if this issue drags on.
On Monday, the ministry issued its final statement on the December 20th incident, along with an audio file it says was recorded when a South Korean naval vessel directed its fire-control radar at a Japanese patrol plane. Seoul denies the claim.
Defense officials from the two sides met last week but failed to settle the issue.
In the statement, the ministry urges South Korea to "accept that the incident occurred and conduct thorough measures to prevent the recurrence of such event".
The ministry says because South Korea "refuses to conduct an objective and neutral determination of facts, it is unlikely the truth will ever be made clear even if working-level meetings were to continue".
The ministry concludes that "it has become difficult to continue to hold consultations" with South Korea.
The statement also says that bilateral defense cooperation with South Korea, and also trilateral cooperation between the two nations and the United States, is indispensable for confronting security challenges such as North Korea, and maintaining security in East Asia.
The ministry adds that Japan will continue to make sincere efforts toward continued cooperation.