INTERVIEW: Japan Defense Minister Eager to Meet S. Korean Counterpart

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 20 (Jiji Press)--New Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono has expressed eagerness to hold talks with his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, amid soured bilateral ties, pointing to the importance of Japan-South Korea cooperation to deal with the North Korean threat.

"I want to move forward with negotiations" over the bilateral General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA, after Seoul's decision last month to terminate the agreement, while "communicating well" with the South Korean side, Kono said in an interview with media organizations including Jiji Press on Wednesday, adding that he hopes to meet with Jeong at some point to discuss the matter.

"There are difficult problems between the governments, but cooperation between Japan and South Korea is important amid the (tough) North Korean situation," Kono said.

Asked about challenges ahead for the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces, Kono pointed to human resources development.

"We'll need to deal with technological innovations including in the new fields of outer space as well as cyberspace and the electromagnetic environment," Kono said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press