NHK reported this morning that South Korean President Moon met with outgoing Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Tomita for about 30 minutes on Thursday. The South Korean leader reportedly said: “The two nations are the closest neighbors and the most important partners and should work together toward peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia and the world.” He also reportedly stressed the need to “swiftly restore a constructive and future-oriented relationship.”
The network noted that it is unclear whether Moon referred to last week’s ruling by a South Korean court ordering the GOJ to pay damages to 12 comfort women. According to the report, Moon also presented credentials to South Korea’s next ambassador to Japan, Kang Chang-il, and expressed hope that Kang will find a way to prevent bilateral differences from affecting the overall relationship between the two countries. The network said that although Moon appeared to recognize the importance of ties with Japan, the bilateral relationship will remain fraught due to the recent court ruling and issues surrounding wartime labor.