East Asia’s coastal neighbors, Japan and South Korea, are opening a new page in bilateral relations negatively affected by political problems.
After South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s visit to Tokyo in March, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida responded.
After a week-long tour of Africa, Kishida went to the capital, Seoul. Thus, Kishida became the first Japanese prime minister to visit South Korea in the past 5 years.
Speaking to reporters, Kishida noted that he wanted to “confidence and openly exchange views” with Yoon on the problems that remain to be resolved in the relations between the two countries.
Pointing to the re-accelerated bilateral dialogue between Tokyo and Seoul in various fields, including defence, economy and energy, Kishida stated that they will endeavor to develop this trend.
During the meeting of the two leaders, it is expected that North Korea’s missile tests threatening the region and the moves of the US-Japan-South Korea’s triple alliance against it are expected to be discussed.
The last course of bilateral relations
In 1910-1945, when Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula, “forced Korean workers” and “exploited Korean women” are known as sensitive issues between the two countries.
Yoon Suk-yeol, who assumed the presidency of South Korea in May 2022, and his administration have recently emphasized “future-oriented neighborly diplomacy” with Japan.
South Korea’s new proposal for “war-time workers compensation”, one of the sensitive issues, announced in March, went down in history as a new page in bilateral relations between Tokyo and Seoul.
Accordingly, the Seoul government-supported foundation fund, which will be established by Japanese companies during the war to cover the compensation of forced laborers, will pay compensation to Korean complainants.
The decisions announced by the Supreme Court of South Korea in 2018 declared that Japanese companies should pay the compensations in question to the Korean complainants.
After the new proposal, South Korean leader Yoon’s visit to Tokyo in March was recorded as the first step in the resumption of mutual leader visits by the leaders of the two countries, which they paused in 2011.
With his visit to Seoul in response to Yoon’s visit in March, Kishida took a remarkable step towards shuttle diplomacy, which had the opportunity to gain momentum again.
It is stated in the Japanese national media that Yoon may be invited as an observer to the G7 Leaders’ Summit, which will be held in Hiroshima on May 19-21, hosted by Kishida.