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Japan, S. Korea must build trust: Japan-ROK parliamentarians’ league official

  • April 21, 2022
  • , Sankei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

Below are excepts from an interview with Takeda Ryota (Liberal Democratic Party), secretary-general of the suprapartisan Japan-South Korea parliamentarians’ association, on the prospects for the group’s meeting on April 25 with a delegation that South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol will send to Japan.


Q: What is the current state of the Japan-South Korea relationship?


Takeda: Given Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, there is no question that cooperation between Japan and South Korea is vital to ensure regional peace, stability, and prosperity. Yet it also remains true that the two countries face many challenges. Values may differ, but we must honor the rules if we are going to secure the regional order. What I mean by “rules” here is fostering trust by steadily fulfilling the promises [the two countries have] made. We can’t move forward unless trust is built.


Q: What are your hopes for President-elect Yoon?


Takeda: I expect him to fully implement the “final and irreversible resolution” of the comfort women issue that Tokyo and Seoul agreed upon in 2015. It is impossible to make a new promise while the previous one has yet to be implemented. The ruling by South Korea’s Supreme Court regarding requisitioned workers is a violation of international law, and it has caused another problem. Japan-South Korea ties would be further strained if the assets of Japanese firms were seized and liquidated into cash.


Q: Some people criticize that little progress has been made on historical issues.


Takeda: We must tenaciously promote negotiations with the hope that doing so will lead to a solution. That is what diplomacy is all about. Some in South Korea say that “President Moon Jae-in failed to really handle the country’s ties with Japan.” And I have the impression that a growing number of South Korean parliamentarians are very interested in seeing a shift in policy. As secretary-general of the Japan-South Korea parliamentarians’ league, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, I am looking forward to seizing this opportunity to rebuild the bilateral relationship.

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