Japan’s PM asks South Korean business leaders to boost bilateral cooperation

Seoul, May 8 (EFE).- Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday asked South Korean business leaders to continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation amid a diplomatic thaw between the two neighbors.

Kishida made the comment during a closed-door round-table meeting in Seoul, where he arrived the previous day to hold a summit with his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol, an unnamed source close to the matter told Yonhap news agency.

In turn, the business leaders reaffirmed their commitment to revitalizing exchanges in areas such as supply chains.

“We shared remarks that each one of us should take the lead in doing our part with regard to economic cooperation with Japan in the future,” said SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who currently chairs the South Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, according to Yonhap.

In the summit held Sunday with Yoon, Kishida agreed to boost military cooperation in relation to North Korea and also to a South Korean inspection team visit to Fukushima power plant in order to alleviate the neighboring country’s concerns about Tokyo’s intended release of contaminated wastewater into the ocean this summer.

This is the second summit that has been held in under two months between the two leaders as bilateral ties begin to improve.

After five years during which relations between Seoul and Tokyo plummeted to their worst level in decades due to differences over Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean government recently announced a plan to compensate Koreans enslaved by Japanese companies during World War II.

The plan, which involves using funds from South Korean companies that benefited from donations Japan made based on a bilateral compensation agreement signed in 1965, was well received in Tokyo, but not so well among South Koreans, many of whom still demand a sincere apology from the Japanese government.

“For me personally, my heart hurts when I think of the many people who endured terrible suffering and grief under the difficult circumstances of the time,” Kishida said Sunday. EFE


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