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Lee Jae-yong’s visit to Japan welcomed by the Japanese press

Lee Jae-yong’s visit to Japan welcomed by the Japanese press

Posted June. 01, 2019 10:10,   

Updated June. 01, 2019 10:10


Japanese weekly paper Nikkei Business on Thursday covered Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong’s recent visit to Japan where he discussed 5G telecommunications. The magazine reported that it was thought that Samsung took the inner unit away (from Japan) while Japan allowed it to stand under the eaves but that it is time to consider Samsung a new partner for cooperation rather than being on guard against it. It implies that mutual cooperation is the right way to go in the interest of Japan while Samsung has recently pursued its efforts to increase its share in the Japanese market when it comes to 5G equipment and smartphones along with semiconductors and displays.

Nikkei Deputy Editor Shimao Ojima analyzed in an editorial section of the paper that Lee’s recent visit to Japan is interpreted as his intention to strengthen the company’s relationship with Japan even while the Korean supreme court’s ruling has not been issued yet. Around mid-May, Lee discussed 5G service, which will be commercialized around the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, with management of Japan’s leading telecommunication carriers NTT Docomo and KDDI so that they could cooperate more closely.

The article said that Samsung has exported panels and DRAMs to the Japanese market, adding that it plans to increase the sales of finished products such as 5G telecommunications equipment and Galaxy smartphones. It has been projected by the news that Galaxy models could increase in shipments while China’s Huawei is struggling in Japan due to the consequences of the recent U.S.-China trade war.

Electronics experts expect that Samsung Electronics will likely turn the table in their favor by focusing on Japan’s 5G market on the occasion of the Tokyo Olympics. The Korean electronics producer has recently opened up “Galaxy Harajuku,” the world’s largest Galaxy flagship store, in Tokyo in March.

Mentioning that Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee and his son, the vice chairman, studied at Graduate School Keio University and Waseda University, respectively, the article said that Vice Chairman Lee is aware that some media outlets consider that he represents Korean business leaders amid the worsening relationship between Korea and Japan. Thus, it has been expected that Samsung will be cautious about being seen as negative among the Japanese public while targeting aggressively at the Japanese market.

It advised that there is no need for Japanese businesses to be too cautious about Samsung’s recent changes, which means that it is time to put practical benefits over anything else rather than being hostile to Samsung Electronics, which has topped many fields of global market, exceeding its Japanese competitors. Samsung has ordered its corporate branch in Japan not to push Japanese companies to get orders delivered on a tight schedule since the Great East Japan earthquake took place, according to the news. It has said that Samsung may have had a practical aim of targeting the finished goods market in Japan. As Samsung has been waiting for the supreme court’s ruling with Samsung Biologics’ accounting scandal being at the center of attention, it is better for Japan to gain full benefits and look ahead into what Samsung pursues rather than distancing itself from Samsung.

“Back in 2013, the Japanese business circle took a step to stop Samsung Electronics and Japanese electronics companies from cooperating on technology,” a business insider said. “There is a growing public sentiment that favors the need of economic cooperation with Samsung even with anti-Korean sentiment preval‎ent in Japan.”

Ji-Hyun Kim jhk85@donga.com