TOKYO – Japanese and South Korean business leaders agreed Monday to expand economic cooperation as the two sides welcomed signs of the improvement of soured bilateral ties after President Yoon Suk Yeol took office earlier this month.
They expressed hope that the two governments will promote dialogue despite wartime history-linked issues between the two neighbors, according to a joint statement issued after an online meeting.
“In a difficult environment, cooperation and coordination by both countries will be the power to overcome the crisis,” the statement said, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and international sanctions on Moscow in response.
Tokyo-Seoul relations severely deteriorated under Yoon’s predecessor Moon Jae In over “comfort women” who worked at Japan’s military brothels against their will and Korean laborers who were mobilized to work at mines and factories.
The two nations have also been at odds over Japan’s restrictions on semiconductor material exports to South Korea in July 2019, a move seen as retaliation for the Moon administration’s handling of the history-related issues.
A total of around 280 business executives from the two countries took part in the meeting, virtually linking venues in Tokyo and Seoul.
The meeting has been conducted annually since 1969, with the next year’s session scheduled to be held in South Korea.