Japan, S. Korea Lawmakers Discuss Ways to Improve Ties


Jeju, South Korea, Sept. 16 (Jiji Press)--Japanese and South Korean lawmakers have held a meeting to discuss ways to improve their countries' ties that deteriorated to a multidecade low mainly over history issues.

Both sides called for a return to the spirit of the 1998 joint declaration by then Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi and then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.

In the declaration, Japan expressed its "deep remorse and heartfelt apology" for the damage and suffering it caused to Koreans during its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula until the end of World War II. Meanwhile, South Korea said that the two countries should overcome their "unfortunate" past and build a "future-oriented" bilateral relationship.

Participants in the meeting, held in South Korea's southern province of Jeju on Thursday, were mostly members of Japanese and South Korean nonpartisan lawmaker groups for bilateral friendship.

Chung Jin-suk of the ruling People Power Party, head of the South Korean group, said that it is not good to request that only one of the two sides present solutions, asking Japan to add efforts. He apparently had in mind the thorny issue of wartime labor provided by Koreans to Japanese companies.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press