All national dailies reported on a New Year’s news conference held by South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday during which he commented on Japan-ROK relations by saying that Japan should present its own proposal for resolving the requisitioned workers issue. The papers wrote that referring to the possibility of the liquidation of Japanese companies’ seized assets, Moon reportedly said it is necessary for Tokyo and Seoul to discuss the issue early because time is running out. The ROK leader also said the two nations will be able to resolve the issue if they work together. Moon added that it will not be difficult to resolve the issue if Japan makes proposals that are acceptable to the victims. Moon stressed that he has a strong will to improve bilateral ties in a forward-looking manner, saying that the confidence between the two nations will be restored if they solve such issues as Japan’s tightened export controls. He added that South Korea will send a senior government official to the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, expressing hope that the event will be an opportunity for the two nations to fundamentally improve their ties.
Yomiuri commented that the gap between Tokyo and Seoul over the issue of former requisitioned workers remains deep because Japan has been insisting that the dispute was settled under the bilateral agreement concerning the settlement of property claims and economic cooperation. Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Sankei quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga as saying at a news conference on Tuesday that there has been no change in Japan’s position of calling on the ROK to rectify its violation of international law.
Yomiuri, Mainichi, and Nikkei added that President Moon expressed his willingness to expand cooperation between North and South Korea.