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S. Korean PM's Japan trip expected to help thaw frosty Seoul-Tokyo relations Updated: 2019-10-22 04:32:24 KST

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon is heading to Japan for a three-day trip on Tuesday, to attend Japanese Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony.
Later in the day, the PM will attend the dinner banquet and exchange greetings with the Japanese Emperor.
Then on Thursday, he'll sit down for a brief one-on-one with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Lee is expected to deliver a friendly message from President Moon, calling for deeper cooperation and more amicable bilateral ties.

Among South Korean politicians, Lee is regarded as a Japan expert, speaking fluent Japanese without the help of interpreters.
Once a Tokyo correspondent for a South Korean daily and later a member of the Korea-Japan lawmakers' union, Lee is known to be well-acquainted with political and economic leaders in Japan.
Once last year, Lee met with Emperor Naruhito.

"We had an opportunity to talk about a lot of things when we met at the World Water Forum in Brazil."

His ties with Prime Minister Abe date back even further.

"I remember drinking soju with him on a rainy weekend in Seoul when he came here in 2005 before becoming the Chief Cabinet Secretary."

If the Prime Minister's Japan trip proves successful, eyes will turn to the possibility of a summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
That could happen naturally on the sidelines of the many international events taking place next month such as the ASEAN+3 summit in Thailand and the APEC summit in Chile.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.
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