NHK reported that the delegation sent by ROK President-elect Yoon paid a courtesy call this morning on Prime Minister Kishida, saying that the premier underscored the importance of swift bilateral reconciliation and the settlement of outstanding history disputes. During the 25-minute session at the Kantei, the Japanese leader referred to the Russian aggression against Ukraine and North Korea’s continued nuclear and missile development and said: “Under the current international situation in which the rules-based international order is being threatened, it is now more essential than ever for Japan and South Korea and the United States to strengthen their bilateral and trilateral strategic coordination. We must waste no time in improving bilateral ties.” At the same time, Kishida emphasized the need to resolve the bilateral history disputes over wartime requisitioned workers and comfort women. “It is necessary to develop Japan-South Korea relations based on the foundation of the friendly ties that have been built up since diplomatic normalization in 1965,” the prime minister was quoted as saying. “The settlement of outstanding issues, such as the issue involving requisitioned workers from the Korean Peninsula, is necessary to achieve that.” In reply, the ROK visitors mentioned the incoming leader’s policy of attaching importance to Tokyo and pledged Seoul’s efforts to improve bilateral ties. The delegation reportedly also met with Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno later in the day.
Commercial broadcasters aired similar stories, quoting one of the South Korean delegates as saying after the sessions at the Kantei: “We had meaningful discussions. We said to the Japanese side that bilateral relations have arrived at a new starting point and we are ready to cooperate for mutual interests.” According to a Japanese participant, the delegation did not ask the prime minister to attend Yoon’s inauguration ceremony.