Director Park Jie-won of the National Intelligence Service met Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday and agreed on the need to resolve the pressing issue of war reparations. Leaders of Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' Union will arrive in Japan on Thursday and are currently arranging a meeting with Prime Minister Suga.
Hopes for improved bilateral relations are rising as Prime Minister Suga meets South Korean high-ranking officials and expresses his willing to resolve issues between the two nations. However, the two countries have yet to agree on the issue of war reparations by Japanese companies to South Korean forced laborers.
Director Park had a 30-minute discussion with Prime Minister Suga at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo at 3:40 p.m. on the day. This was the first time Prime Minister Suga met a South Korean high ranking official since his inauguration on September 16.
As he left the office after the discussion, Director Park said he sent regards and expressed the determination to normalize the relations with Japan on behalf of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, adding that there was no hand-written letter from him. The NIS chief went on to say that they discussed the reparations at length and agreed that the two leaders of the countries should resolve the issue, expressing hope that the issue could be resolved through dialogue.
While both governments believe it is important to resolve the compensation issue, they take different approaches. “Prime Minister Suga has a positive stance on the solution proposed by Moon Hee-sang,” said a senior member of the Liberal Democratic Party. “I understand he asked Director Park and South Korea to come up with a solution with the so-called “Moon Hee-sang solution”.
With the governments stuck in deadlock, politicians of both nations are taking action. “The Japanese prime minister will meet Kim Jin-pyo, the head of Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' Union, and its members who will arrive on Thursday,” said an advisor for Prime Minister Suga. “It could be held on Friday. Prime Minister Suga meets Kim after Director Park will be an important point in the relations between South Korea and Japan, and it signals his willing to improve them
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