Japan’s Keidanren Plans to Enlarge Joint Projects with S. Korea, Hopes to Help Improve Relations Between 2 Countries

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Keidanren Kaikan building

The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) announced on Friday its plan to enlarge joint projects with its South Korean counterpart based on their partnership funds with the aim to help improve bilateral relations.

Japan’s business group said that its member companies have donated more than ¥200 million, exceeding its goal of ¥100 million, for the Japan-Korea Korea-Japan Future Partnership Funds. Using the donations, Keidanren plans to further improve exchanges and cooperation between personnel and companies in Japan and South Korea.

The funds were established as a voluntary measure by Keidanren and its South Korean counterpart in response to South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s administration presenting a solution to a series of lawsuits involving former wartime requisitioned workers from the Korean Peninsula.

Keidanren has been using the funds to promote cooperation between startups in the two countries and other exchange programs while the two governments are working to build a future-oriented relationship.

Keidanren has not disclosed the names and details of the companies that donated to the funds. However, it seems that the Japanese companies that were the defendants in the lawsuits, for which rulings ordering them to pay compensation have been finalized, are not among the donors.

As the compensation issue is still unresolved, a South Korean government-affiliated foundation has been paying the plaintiffs the amounts equivalent to the compensation.

When Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry gave an administrative order to LY Corp., which operates the Line app, it created controversy in South Korea as Naver Corp., a tech giant in the country, is a major shareholder of LY.

With Friday’s announcement, Keidanren is likely aiming to show that its policy of helping to improve Japan-South Korea relations has not changed.