Seoul, Sept. 25 (Jiji Press)–Japanese and South Korean business leaders Wednesday voiced concerns about their countries’ deteriorating ties over history and trade issues while showing their resolve to further promote economic exchanges.
In a joint statement adopted at their two-day meeting in Seoul through the day, the participants called on the two countries’ governments to take action to fix the political and diplomatic relations.
The annual Japan-South Korea business conference was held for the 51st time. It was initially scheduled to take place in May but was postponed amid the escalating tensions between Tokyo and Seoul. Some people were worried that the gathering would not be held this year.
In the statement, the participating leaders said the mutually beneficial, good economic relations built by the two countries are in danger.
At a press conference after the meeting, Japan-Korea Economic Association head Mikio Sasaki, who led the Japanese delegation, said it is undesirable for the two governments to continue squaring off against each other.
“They should talk calmly,” said Sakaki, special adviser of Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp. <8058>.
His South Korean counterpart, Kim Moon, chairman of the Korea-Japan Economic Association, stressed that economic exchanges should be kept active, even at a time of political and diplomatic tensions.
During the two-day meeting, participants from both sides expressed concerns that the bilateral spats are beginning to have negative economic implications including a boycott of Japanese products in South Korea and a slump in South Korean visitors to Japan.
Some said Japanese companies could be forced within two or three years to respond to the outcome of Seoul’s initiative to promote domestic production of semiconductor materials and other goods to counter Japan’s tightening of export controls against South Korea.