South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said on Tuesday that he delivered a verbal message from President Yoon Suk-yeol to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, expressing the willingness to improve relations with Japan during his courtesy call on the Japanese premier.
Park told reporters that the outcomes of the meeting at the Japanese prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo showed an effort to mend the bilateral ties strained over the wartime history and trade.
During the 20-minute meeting between Park and Kishida, the two sides also touched on the issues related to Japan’s wartime forced labour and sexual slavery, Xinhua news agency reported quoting Park.
Tuesday’s meeting followed Park’s talks with his Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi the previous day, which focused on restoring ties.
During Monday’s meeting, Park and Hayashi agreed on the need for an early settlement over issues related to Koreans who were forced to labour during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonisation of the Korean Peninsula.
During World War II, soldiers from the Japanese army also coerced and kidnapped tens of thousands of girls and women from Asian countries and forced them to work as sex slaves, servicing Japanese soldiers at military brothels.
Many of the women forced into sexual slavery came from the Korean Peninsula, as well as from other parts of Asia, and euphemistically these sex slaves have been known collectively as “comfort women.”
Seoul maintains that the “comfort women” issue has not been settled as the will of the surviving victims has not been reflected.
On Tuesday, Park also talked to a cross-party group of Japanese lawyers for promoting exchanges between the two countries