(Mainichi: March 24, 2015 – p. 5)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with 12 members of the conference of eminent persons from Japan and South Korea, which aims to improve relations between their countries, on March 23 at the Prime Minister’s Office [Kantei]. Abe and the group agreed to aim at realizing a bilateral summit in 2015, which marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The 12 members include former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, and former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo.
During the meeting, Abe said, “Although there are still thorny issues to be resolved between the two countries, I hope to hold summit-level talks without preconditions to exchange views candidly.” He then added: “I would like you to cooperate on the development of ties between Japan and South Korea by utilizing your knowledge and wisdom.” Lee responded by saying, “We hope you will exercise leadership.”
Regarding the possibility of a bilateral summit being held, Lee told reporters after the meeting: “I sensed that progress will be made if the two countries make efforts to that end.”