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Japan Prime Minister touts greater trust with South Korea

Japanese flags. (Unsplash)
May 13, 2023

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday he had succeeded in deepening the trust between himself and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol at a dinner with Yoon the previous evening.

“We had a very significant conversation on a wide range of topics, including personal matters. It helped us deepen our trust in each other,” said Kishida. “I’d like to strengthen that trust with the president further and work together to pave the way for a new era.”

Kishida met Monday in Seoul with members of a bipartisan group at the South Korean National Assembly who have interacted with Japanese lawmakers. He expressed his appreciation for their efforts to bolster friendship between the two countries.

“The historic Japan-Korean Parliamentarians’ Union and the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union have served as bridges between the two countries even under very difficult circumstances in the bilateral relations. I wish to express my gratitude to you,” Kishida said in his meeting with Chung Jin-suk, president of the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union.

“I look forward to further active exchange by lawmakers,” Kishida said.

Chung praised Kishida’s remarks, made on Sunday, regarding the lawsuits related to former requisitioned workers from the Korean Peninsula. “Your warm message was very impressive,” Chung said.

After the meeting with Chung, the prime minister also met with South Korean business officials.

During Sunday’s summit, Kishida and Yoon agreed that South Korea will send a delegation of experts on May 23 to inspect the treated water that is expected to be released from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Regarding issues of wartime requisitioned workers, Yoon said there is no change in his stance of steadily implementing the solution that Seoul announced in March.

“We must get away from the belief that we can’t take any steps toward future cooperation unless we completely settle historical issues,” the president said.

Yoon mentioned the Washington Declaration, which he released with U.S. President Joe Biden during his visit to the United States in April. The president said “we don’t exclude Japan’s possible participation” regarding the measures in the declaration to strengthen nuclear deterrence against North Korea.


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