Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Koichi Aiboshi has reprimanded his deputy for making an “extremely inappropriate remark” during a conversation with a local reporter, the Japanese Embassy in Seoul said Saturday.

The announcement came after South Korean broadcaster JTBC reported the previous day that Hirohisa Soma, deputy chief of mission at the embassy, told one of its reporters that South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in a tug-of-war only with himself over frayed ties between Japan and South Korea.

The embassy said Soma immediately retracted his remark.

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jung Kun called in Aiboshi on Saturday to protest his deputy’s remark.

The incident came as Moon is considering visiting Japan for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. Japan-South Korea relations remain strained due largely to a feud over wartime history issues.

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