Kishida urges continued efforts from South Korea to resolve pending issues

Courtesy of the Cabinet Public Affairs Office
South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hold talks at the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held a meeting Tuesday with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, during which Kishida asked South Korea to continue working to resolve the issues between the two countries, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

During a 20-minute meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, Park reportedly conveyed a message from President Yoon Suk-yeol that he regards Kishida as a trustworthy partner and is certain the two can work together to develop a cooperative bilateral relationship.

According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, Park also told Kishida that Seoul would make efforts to find a desirable solution to the issue of laborers requisitioned to work in Japan during World War II, before the liquidation of assets held by related Japanese firms.

South Korea’s top court has ordered certain Japanese companies to compensate the requisitioned workers, and there is expected to be a final decision to convert assets held by the Japanese companies into cash.

Regarding so-called comfort women, Park said the 2015 Japan-South Korea agreement, which states the issue is “resolved finally and irreversibly,” should be respected as an official agreement.

Park conveyed condolences from Yoon over the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was fatally shot earlier this month, and Kishida expressed gratitude. The South Korean foreign minister expressed hopes that a Japan-South Korea summit will be held when it is feasible for the two countries.

The meeting took place at the request of South Korea, after continued coordination just before the meeting was held.

There was opposition to the meeting, mainly from conservative lawmakers in the Liberal Democratic Party, with some people saying there should be no talks unless Seoul presented a resolution over the issue of requisitioned workers.

However, the meeting ultimately took place, as some were increasingly concerned that bilateral relations would worsen if the Japanese government refused the request from South Korea.

The issue of claims was settled between Japan and South Korea “completely and finally” in 1965 through the Agreement on the Settlement of Problem Concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Cooperation.