October 23, 2018 12:51
The Foreign Ministry has failed to fill several vacancies at the embassy in Tokyo because nobody applied, leading to a fresh round of recruitment.
The ministry is looking for three section chiefs to start work at the embassy early next year, but nobody applied and the ministry had to announce the vacancy again.
The ministry on Monday said some officials have now applied.
Some pundits are worried about a drain of Japan experts at the ministry as relations between the neighbors remain chilled. The Tokyo embassy was once a favorite posting for Korean diplomats, but its popularity has dropped significantly since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011 as well as deteriorating bilateral relations.
A former diplomat said, "Many diplomats believe the job will be hard work but they won't get any praise or rewards because it involves so many intractable issues" such as Japan's wartime mobilization of Korean sex slaves and its repeated claims to Korea's Dokdo islets.
But the problem is not limited to Japan, and the ministry blames a general staff shortage.
The ministry said there were also not enough applicants for vacancies at the embassy in China and missions in the EU during the first half of this year and at the OECD recently.
"This is due to the lack of possible replacements as headquarters is short of staff because some are on paternity or maternity leave and for other reasons," a ministry official said.
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