Kishida to Visit South Korea in Bid to Revitalize Bilateral Ties

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, shakes hands with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo on March 16.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to visit South Korea for a two-day trip starting Sunday, engaging in talks with President Yoon Suk Yeol. The visit is intended to strengthen Japan-South Korea relations through resuming reciprocal visits, an initiative agreed upon during the Tokyo summit meeting in March.

On Sunday, the leaders will participate in both small-scale and expanded meetings before attending a joint press conference and dinner together. The two heads of state are expected to find common ground in reinforcing collaboration on economic security and addressing North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues.

Regarding lawsuits related to former wartime requisitioned workers from the Korean Peninsula, the progress of the resolution announced by Seoul will likely be assessed during the talks. Kishida has declared that he will uphold the “historical recognition of successive cabinets,” which includes remorse and apology for Japan’s past colonial rule. The manner in which Japan communicates its position on this issue will be a key point of interest.

This marks the first diplomatic visit by a Japanese prime minister to South Korea in 12 years, with the last taking place in October 2011 by then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

On Friday evening, Kishida told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office that in light of the recent earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture, decisions regarding the visit would take into account the damage situation and other factors.”