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Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin meets with Japanese PM

Posted October. 13, 2020 07:45,   

Updated October. 13, 2020 07:45


Lotte Corporation CEO Shin Dong-bin met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. According to The Nihon Keizai Shimbun on Monday, Shin had a meeting with the prime minister for about 1.5 hours over lunch at a restaurant in a Tokyo hotel on Sunday. The meeting was also joined by Kazutoshi Kobayashi, the CEO of cosmetics company Kosé Corporation, and Takashi Sawada, the president of Family Mart.

Shin is the first South Korean businessman known to have met with Prime Minister Suga who was appointed last month. “A meeting with CEO Shin was included as part of the prime minister’s schedule, which is disclosed minute by minute”, a member of Lotte Corporation said. “The content of their conversation has been unknown even to us.” The business circles assume that discussions involved measures to improve the currently strained economic relations between South Korea and Japan.

The family owners of Lotte Corporation are known to have long-standing close relations with the Japanese political circles. Shin Kyuk-ho, the late founder of Lotte Corporation, had close relationships with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Shinzo Abe’s father and former foreign minister Shintaro Abe, and Shinzo Abe’s maternal grandfather former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi.

CEO Shin himself also has a close relationship with Japanese politicians as then-Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone attended his wedding and Shinzo Abe attended his first son Shin Yoo-yeol’s wedding.

Chairman Shin has been staying in Japan since August. The business circles predict that Shin will return to South Korea by the beginning of November as Lotte Corporation’s personnel decisions will begin in November, which may be advanced to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Tae-Ho Hwang taeho@donga.com