Newly elected Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga thanked South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, and told the South Korean President of his hopes of improving Japan and South Korea’s future relationship.
Suga sent the letter after South Korea’s president congratulated him, the president’s office confirmed on Monday, per Korean media, TBS.
Moon sent Suga his congratulatory letter last week, reports said.
Suga called Tokyo and Seoul “important neighbors,” TBS reported.
According to reports, Suga’s letter to Moon emphasizes the importance of cooperation between the two states, Kang Min-Seok said.
Kang Min-Seok is the spokesperson of South Korea’s president.
Prime Minister Suga said “he hoped the two countries overcome difficult issues,” Kang said in a press briefing, per CNA.
Suga also underscores the need to “build a forward-looking relationship” with South Korea, Kang added.
President Moon also conveyed his willingness to hold talks with the Prime Minister in his congratulatory letter.
The talks will focus on improving the relationship between the two states economically, and in fostering diplomacy.
Long History of Conflict
Japan and South Korea’s conflict dates back at the beginning of the 20th century when Korea became a colony under Japan.
Japan, in the past, forced Koreans to work in its mines and factories and pushed them to enlist in the military.
During the 2nd world war, many Korean women were forced to serve Japanese soldiers as “comfort women.”
When Japan lost the war in 1945, it also ended Japan’s hold on Korea, and Korea became an independent state.
In 1965, a treaty normalized the relationship between the two states.
Japan also provided Korea more than $800m monetary settlement in the form of financial aid.
For Japan, the financial aid settled everything.
In 2015, Japan vowed to pay 1billion yen to fund Korea’s comfort women.
However, activists and citizens argue the Korean government did not consult its citizens, and thus the arrangement is invalid.
Moreover, activists condemning Japan’s use of comfort women during the war demand the Japanese government to teach Japanese students, Japanese atrocities during war.