Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A Tokyo-based Japanese politician's derogatory remarks about premodern Korean missions to Japan are being condemned as inflammatory and discriminatory.
Chinatsu Sasaki, 46, made the remarks on Sept. 12 at a ward meeting at Suginami Ward in Tokyo, the Asahi Shimbun reported Thursday.
Sasaki said it is a "complete lie" the Joseon missions to Japan were welcomed and claimed the missions represented a "heinous crime ring" who targeted Japanese women, committed murders and robbed people, according to South Korean television network JTBC.
Sasaki, who is a member of the ward's assembly, also said Japanese history textbooks used in the country's elementary schools distort the true history of premodern Korean, or Joseon missions to Japan.
Joseon missions to Japan were part of bilateral diplomatic exchanges between the two neighboring states and may have begun as early as the 15th century and continued into the 19th century, before the dawn of the modern era. Korean emissaries to Japan abided by Confucian principles, and there is no evidence they engaged in rape or looting, said Hiroshi Nakao, an analyst at Kyoto University Arts and Design, according to the Asahi.
Activists in Japan have condemned Sasaki's comments; they also come at a time of high tensions between Seoul and Tokyo.
On Wednesday, South Korea officially removed Japan from its list of trusted trade partners, according to Yonhap news agency.
South Korean companies must file more paperwork to export "strategic goods" to Japan and approval will take longer, according to the report.
Japan placed similar restrictions on Korea in July and August.