Japanese Ambassador meets with representatives of large companies

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Japanese Ambassador to Korea Koji Tomita delivers a speech during a meeting with Korean business executives in Yeouido, west Seoul, Thursday. [YONHAP]

The Japanese ambassador in Seoul suggested that Korea pave the way for the resumption of talks between the two countries during a meeting with Korean business leaders.

The comments came at a meeting Thursday between Ambassador Koji Tomita and Korean businessmen organized by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), a lobbying group for big business.

“Discussions progressed until Korea filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization. [WTO] this summer – this interrupted dialogue [altogether]”said Tomita.

“It is unfortunate that all other discussions aimed at resolving the issue have come to a halt when the two have stopped talking to each other. Japan’s official position and my personal anticipation is that Korea would set out the circumstances to resolve the issue through talks.

In September 2019, the Korean government filed a complaint with the WTO about Japan’s restrictions on exports to Korea, but suspended it two months later. Last June, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy relaunched the procedure, saying that talks between the two countries had made little progress.

The FKI urges that Korea-Japan trade relations be normalized for the benefit of the economies of both countries.

In opening remarks Thursday, FKI Vice President and CEO Kwon Tae-shin suggested that a Korea-Japan summit could be a step forward in improving economic relations, expressing hope for better relations with China. new administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo.

A positive indicator was the agreement between Korea and Japan for the granting of expedited visas to businessmen traveling between the two countries, the implementation of which began in early October. Countries waive the mandatory quarantine period for visiting foreigners.

“Hoping for an immediate recovery would be wishful thinking. But a meeting between the leaders of the two countries could lead to a breakthrough, ”Kwon said.

Tomita said the two governments should prepare themselves, as the relationship between the two companies involves a list of unresolved issues, including Korean forced labor during World War II.

“I believe that patiently persisting in efforts to resolve the various problems could be the prerequisite for improving economic relations,” the ambassador said.

“Both economies have benefited from the trade relationship. The volume of trade has grown 100-fold since 1965, when diplomatic relations were normalized.

More than 20 Korean executives attended the meeting, including those from Hyosung, Korean Air, Lotte Engineering & Construction, Hanwha Solutions, Hyundai Motor, SK hynix and KB Kookmin Bank.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]


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