As of the end of last year, 111 municipalities in Japan had established ties with South Korean cities, including three more cities that had formed links since last April, according to a report released Friday by an international exchange group.

While bilateral ties at the national level have deteriorated in the wake of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s repeated visits to Yasukuni Shrine and a territorial dispute involving islets in the Sea of Japan, the municipalities are deepening grassroots exchanges, the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations said.

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