SEOUL – Japan and South Korea should respect each other’s positions to prevent the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations in 2015 from being marred by tensions over history, experts from the two countries said Saturday.
History issues are likely to negatively affect private-sector exchanges and economic relations, the experts said in a joint statement issued by the chairmen to sum up three days of private-sector dialogue that ended the same day in Seoul.
The statement called on the Japanese and South Korean governments to return to the spirit of a future-oriented partnership and underscored the need to pave the way for a summit between the leaders of the two countries.
Masao Okonogi, head of the Japanese delegation and research professor at Kyushu University, told reporters that many participants at the forum shared the recognition that the Japan-South Korean relationship has entered a critical phase.
The atmosphere of the latest forum was gloomy because an exit from the current stalemate has not been found, he added.
The Japan-South Korea forum has been held every year since 1993 with support from the governments of the two countries. Politicians, business leaders, academics and journalists take part in the event.