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Japanese PM pays respects to Seoul National Cemetery

Posted May. 08, 2023 08:13,   

Updated May. 08, 2023 08:13


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited the Seoul National Cemetery to pay tribute on Sunday as the first step of his visit to Korea. It is the first time in 12 years since Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda paid tribute to the Seoul National Cemetery in October 2011

Prime Minister Kishida offered incense and laid flowers along with his wife Yoko, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara, Japanese Ambassador to Korea Koichi Aiboshi, Korean Ambassador to Japan Yoon Duk-min and paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for Korea. Prime Minister Kishida laid a wreath in his name. After paying tribute, he signed his name in the guestbook as “Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Korea” in English.

There have been six visits by previous Japanese Prime Ministers to the Seoul National Cemetery, which was first started in 1983 by Yasuhiro Nakasone, followed by Shinzo Abe (2006), and Taro Aso (2009). Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama visited the Daejeon National Cemetery in 2010, paying tribute to the 46 soldiers and warrant officer Han Ju-ho who lost their lives in the sinking of Cheonan.

“It is only natural for a head of state to visit the national cemetery of the country that s/he is visiting to pay respects to many respectable leaders,” said a Japanese government official. “He wishes to pay his respects to those in Korean history.”

“It is practice for foreign heads of state visiting Korea to pay tribute to this cemetery. It appears that the Prime Minister is signaling to Korea to resume shuttle diplomacy,” reported Kyodo News. Some say that the visit hints intention to show Japan’s willingness to reinforce security cooperation between South Korea and the U.S. as most of the soldiers buried in the Seoul National Cemetery lost their lives in the Korean War.