The leaders of South Korea and Japan spoke by phone on Friday saying they would look to deepen ties in the face of regional security threats despite strained bilateral relations.
Although they are both military allies of the U.S. and share common concerns over North Korea and China, ties between Seoul and Tokyo have suffered over the legacy of Japan's World War II atrocities. Disagreements over compensation for wartime Korean laborers are another big problem.
Let's talk about it. I want to bring in Kazuto SUZUKI, Professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo. Great to see you.
Japan's new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, only spoke with President Moon Jae-in after he'd spoken with a number of other world leaders - perhaps underlining the neighbors' chilly relations.
Now, during their 35-minute phone talks, President Moon said the two nations must find solution through diplomacy over the difference in legal interpretation of the 1965 treaty Prime Minister Kishida maintained its argument that it had settled all war-related compensation. What do they mean by this?
The two leaders also discussed North Korea.
What's Prime Minister Kishida's stance on North Korea?
After his talks with President Moon, the new Japanese PM told reporters that relations between Japan and South Korea continue to be in severe conditions. Seoul, Tokyo ties have been at a low for some time as also reflected by Kishida's call to the South Korean president after he had spoken with a number of other world leaders.
What will it take for Seoul, Tokyo relations to improve?
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made an offering to a controversial war shrine this past weekend. The Yasukuni Shrine honors millions of Japanese war dead, including 14 men convicted as Class A war criminals after World War II, and is generally viewed by Japan’s neighbors as a symbol of the country’s past militarism. Kishida's offering over the weekend angered South Korea and China.
What's your viewpoint on this?
Another issue of conflict between Seoul and Tokyo is the new prime minister's plan to release radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean. Kishida visited the tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant and said the planned disposal of wasterwater stored in the facility cannot be delayed sticking to his predecessor's plan to discharge the water into the sea beginning in 2023. What's the public opinion in Japan regarding this issue?
Kishida dissolved the House of Representatives on Thursday paving the way for the October 31st election seeking a public mandate for his new government and policies. What's your outlook on the election?
Alright, it was Professor Kazuto Suzuki from The University of Tokyo. Thanks for your insights.