Eased travel to Japan eyed at summitIn their meeting Saturday, the leaders of South Korea and Japan are expected to agree to permit Koreans to travel without visas to Japan, a government source said yesterday.
“The two countries have agreed to expand exchanges by 2005, when the normalization of relations will mark its 40th anniversary,” said the source, who asked for anonymity.
Currently, Japanese require no visa to travel to South Korea. South Koreans had a temporary 30-day visa waiver during last year’s World Cup. As a condition of permitting permanent visa-free travel to Japan for Koreans, Tokyo has demanded that South Korea take measures against visa forgery and illegal residence in Japan by Koreans.
President Roh Moo-hyun and Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will also discuss creating an air shuttle between Gimpo and Haneda airports to permit day trips between the cities. Both Japan’s Narita and Korea’s Incheon airports are much more distant from the capitals they serve.
The two nations will agree to designate 2005 as the “Year of Bilateral Festivities.”
The Blue House has not yet announced Mr. Roh’s itinerary in Japan; but he will meet with Emperor Akihito on Korean Memorial Day, a day before the summit with Mr. Koizumi.
Nine business leaders including Son Kil-seung, head of the Federation of Korean Industries, will accompany the president in the four-day visit. Thirty-one Korean business representatives traveled to the United States with the president in May.
by Oh Young-hwan
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