All national dailies reported on a teleconference held on Thursday between Prime Minister Suga and South Korean President Moon. Suga reportedly told Moon that Japan and South Korea are critically important neighbors of each other and their bilateral cooperation and their trilateral cooperation with the United States are important for dealing with the DPRK. Referring to the issue of former wartime requisitioned workers, Suga reportedly told the ROK president that the two nations should not allow their current strained relations to remain as they are.
Noting that Suga issued a warning to Moon by bringing up the issue of requisitioned workers during their first conversation, Yomiuri wrote that it appears difficult for Tokyo and Seoul to mend their strained ties because Suga is expected to maintain former Prime Minister Abe’s “hardline” stance toward South Korea. Asahi expressed a similar view.
However, Nikkei and Mainichi wrote that Moon indicated hope to improve ties with Japan under the leadership of Prime Minister Suga, quoting him as reportedly saying he hopes Japan and South Korea will use the inauguration of the Suga administration as an opportunity to accelerate efforts to increase their communications with a fresh perspective. Nikkei pointed out that although Moon had insisted that he respected the decision by the court on the issue of former wartime requisitioned workers, he gave consideration to the GOJ’s position on the matter by reportedly telling Suga he would like to seek an “optimum” solution that is acceptable to all parties involved.