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Fumio Kishida's premiership not expected to quickly improve S. Korea-Japan relations
Updated: 2021-09-30 17:01:22 KST
Japan's next and 100th Prime Minister was decided in a run off vote on Wednesday and the question South Koreans are now asking is what impact Fumio Kishida's premiership will have on the complex, diplomatic relationship between the two neighboring countries.
Like current PM Yoshihide Suga and previously Shinzo Abe, Kishida belongs to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party so despite views he may steer the country to the left as a moderate liberal, Korean analysts say Tokyo's hardline policy on Seoul will likely remain in place.

"President Moon Jae-in's term ends in May next year so it'll be difficult to expect any major changes in the two countries' relationship right away when one administration is departing soon."

The topic perhaps attracting the most attention is his stance on comfort women and wartime sexual slavery.
Kishida, as Japan's ex-foreign minister, was the one who signed the 2015 agreement with Seoul on the Japanese military's sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II, now in tatters as the current administration later embraced victims' claims that the deal was reached without full consent.

"Acknowledging the comfort women's struggle and making concessions won't serve the LDP well, in terms of public support, heading into the upcoming Japanese general election"

Kishida once served as Japan's acting defense minister but according to Germany's DW, the LDP faction he leads is considered the party's "dovish wing" against the nuclear arming of the nation and supportive of Japan's pacifist constitution.
From Hiroshima himself, several members of Kishida's family died when the atomic bomb was dropped in 1945.
He was the key figure behind former U.S. President Barack Obama's historic visit to the city in 2016.
Kishida has said, however, that China's assertive foreign policy has set off a (quote) "strong alarm," prompting Tokyo to team up with the U.S. and other allies to counter Beijing's growing geopolitical and economic ambitions.
Immediately after his election, the Korean government said it looks forward to developing bilateral relations in a future-oriented manner.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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