A group of South Korean lawmakers held talks Friday afternoon with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
They arrived in Tokyo on Thursday a day after South Korea’s intelligence chief came back from his own Japan visit.
As members of the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians Union, they’re the first legislators to meet with the new PM since he took office in September.
The issues for discussion reportedly included how to resolve the issue of Japan’s subjection of Koreans to forced labor during World War Two.
It’s been widely expected that the meeting could be an opportunity for a breakthrough in relations between Seoul and Tokyo, whose ties have been strained since a South Korean Supreme Court ruling that the assets of Japanese companies should be liquidated to provide compensation to the forced labor victims.

“In the current situation, the bilateral relationship could be restored faster and more efficiently at the level of our legislatures rather than the governments themselves because of Japan’s long history with the parliamentary system.”

On Thursday, the two sides’ lawmakers agreed to thaw their countries’ frozen bilateral ties through constant exchanges and cooperation.

“I believe it is the duty of political circles to help both countries’ leaders to solve pending issues and to create the environment and conditions necessary to speed up the process.”

Both sides have also laid out plans to set up a special committee for the successful hosting of the Tokyo Olympics and the Paralympics as a means of building cultural bridges.
The specifics of the talks with Suga are yet revealed, but the union will hold a press briefing Saturday morning on their major activities during their Tokyo stay.

“As close U.S. allies, Washington wants the both sides to restore their relationship as soon as possible.
And pundits say the series of meetings in Tokyo between South Korea and Japan show they’re working to revive their talks and pursue future-oriented ties.
Choi Jeong-yoon Arirang News.”

Reporter : jychoi@arirang.com

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