Japan’s defense minister likely to meet for talks

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Japan’s defense minister likely to meet for talks

Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani is expected to hold talks with his Korean counterpart early next week in Seoul, the Korean Ministry of National Defense said on Tuesday, during which Tokyo’s new security legislation may be a key topic.

Nakatani may arrive around Tuesday, according to Korean officials.

He is expected to attend the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) to run from Oct. 20 to 25.

“A detailed itinerary for a Korea-Japan defense ministers’ summit on the occasion of the ADEX 2015 is being discussed,” a Korean defense official said.

Nakatani is expected to discuss Japan’s new package of security bills that were enacted last month by the Diet.

The legislation enables the country to exercise its right to collective self-defense for the first time since the end of World War II.

The package of security bills, passed in the upper house of the Japanese Diet on Sept. 19, has also faced immense opposition in Japan, and Seoul is expected to reiterate its firm position that Tokyo not be able to deploy its Self-Defense Forces on the Korean peninsula without first being granted permission.

Measures to deter North Korea from launching a long-range missile or engaging in any other military provocations are also expected to be on the agenda.

North Korea held a large-scale parade on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Workers’ Party, where it showcased new military weaponry.

The Korean and Japanese defense ministers last met at the end of May in Singapore - the first time in over four years - along the sidelines of the 14th Asia Security Summit.

Before that, Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa visited Korea in January 2011, when he met with his Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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