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INTERNATIONAL > East Asia & Pacific

Japan-S. Korea festival kicks off in Tokyo amid soured ties

  • September 28, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 9:08 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Sept. 28 (Jiji Press)–Many people visited an annual Japan-South Korea cultural exchange festival in Tokyo on Saturday, enjoying South Korean cuisines, traditional costumes and music performances by groups from both countries.

The event was held at a time when the two countries’ relations are said to be at the worst state since the normalization of bilateral diplomatic ties, due to history and trade issues.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day festival through Sunday, South Korean Ambassador to Japan Nam Gwan-pyo indicated hopes for resolving bilateral issues through dialogue by respecting each other’s position and understanding the differences.

“South Korea is a country that passed on its culture to Japan,” Japanese Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said at the ceremony.

Expressing concerns over a drop in the number of South Korean visitors to Japan, Akaba said, “I hope this festival leads to an expansion in human exchanges.”

At a booth for chatting set up for the first time at the event, young people from both countries discussed a wide range of topics, including college life, job hunting and bilateral relations.

A 24-year-old college student from Seoul said he learned, through having discussions with Japanese people at the event, that they are also worried about soured South Korea-Japan ties, a finding that contradicted with what he had learned from media reports.

A 17-year-old high school second grader in Tokyo said, “I have a question mark over the current state on the Internet and in the media where people tend to mock South Koreans beyond the range of political issues.”

She added, “If we open our hearts, we can be friends.”

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