During a House of Councillors plenary session, Kishida said Japan’s relationship with South Korea should not be left as it is, while indicating that no immediate breakthrough is in sight. “I strongly urge the South Korean side to present an acceptable solution at an early date to bring Japan and South Korea back to healthy relations,” he said.
According to Japanese government officials, arrangements are being made for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to speak by phone with South Korean President Moon Jae In as early as Thursday. If accomplished, it will be Kishida’s first opportunity to speak with Moon since taking office on Oct. 4. Due to disagreements over wartime and other issues, bilateral relations have reached a low point in decades. Fumio Kishida (R) of Japan and Moon Jae In of South Korea are shown together in this composite photo (Kyodo). Kishida’s predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, completed his one-year term without ever attending an official meeting with Moon, reflecting the strained ties.
Relations between the two countries sharply deteriorated after the South Korean Supreme Court rulings in 2018 that ordered the seizure of assets of Japanese companies as compensation for colonial-era labor performed by Korean nationals.
Since taking office, Kishida has already spoken with some foreign leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Japan takes the position that all claims connected to its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula were “completely and finally” settled by a 1965 bilateral accord under which South Korea received financial assistance. The strained relationship between Tokyo and Seoul has been a headache for the United States as both countries are key allies for Washington, particularly in dealing with threats from North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.