Japanese provincial authorities are confirmed to have canceled student trips to South Korea following a Foreign Ministry notice to refrain from visiting the country.
According to Kyodo News on Thursday, Matsuyama City in Ehime Prefecture abruptly called off its plan to send a dozen middle school students to South Korea's Pyeongtaek in July for a weeklong visit.
The city said it has been sending students to its "friendship city" Pyeongtaek every year since 2006 as part of efforts to foster talent. But it said that following the recent erection of a statue symbolizing Japan's wartime sex slavery victims in Pyeongtaek, it believes the student dispatch will not gain support from Matsuyama citizens.
The Kyodo report said the city also took into account the unstable political situation in Korea.
Three Japanese schools including a high school run by the Chiben Gakuen private academic institution of Nara Prefecture have also postponed student field trips to South Korea scheduled for this month.
In the notice, the Foreign Ministry urged schools to refrain from visiting South Korea citing the bilateral conflict over the statues' issue and instability on the Korean Peninsula.