A good start for Korea-Japan relations

Home > Opinion > Editorials

print dictionary print

A good start for Korea-Japan relations

Korea has launched a government-private council to seek solutions for pending issues with Japan. Bilateral relations have been stalemated since Korea’s Supreme Court in 2018 ordered Mitsubishi and other Japanese companies to compensate Koreans for their forced wartime labor and later ordered seizure of their remaining assets in Korea for incompliance.

Foreign Minister Park Jin proposed the public-private council to hear out the voices of the victims, their families and others to seek “a solution package the people can agree on” before the top court issues a final order to liquidate the assets for compensation.

Since the court’s rulings on wartime compensation had been out of sync with the basis for the normalization of bilateral ties and past government stance, it is not easy for the government to deal with Japan which maintained Seoul respect bilateral and international treaties.

Issues with Japan remain sensitive to Koreans. A non-political body of the private-public council is necessary to seek a breakthrough. If the body formed of respectable figures from both the conservatives and liberals comes up with an effective proposal after thorough discussions, Japan may compromise for national interests. It also could help to unite national views on the issue and set the path for a productive bilateral relationship with Japan.

The Korea-Japan Business Council on Monday held an annual conference in Seoul. In their first meeting in three years, the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, led by Chair Masakazu Tokura and the Korean counterpart headed by Huh Chang-soo of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) vowed to open a new partnership for the 21st century through improved bilateral relationship and expanded cooperation.

Under the eight-point agreement, the business representatives of the two countries called for a renewed visa waiver and development of bilateral ties for mutual benefit and contribution to regional peace and stability.

The Japanese delegation paid a visit to President Yoon Suk-yeol who asked for continued communication among business leaders to expand partnership in an era of economic security.

Tokura promised to continue efforts to improve and advance “amicable” economic relationship of the two countries.

The events underscored how desperately the corporate leaders of the two countries wish to enhance bilateral economic ties amid the perilous global climate from inflation and supply bottleneck. The thawed mood in the business sector can help resolve the differences over past issues. The joint communique of former leaders Kim Dae-jung and Keizo Obuchi in 1998 had set the pillar to future-oriented bilateral relationship. If the two governments go back to the spirit of the joint communique, they would be able to come to wisdom to seek a common path to combat global uncertainties for mutual prosperity.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)