• Kyodo

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Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara hopes to help improve strained relations with South Korea through increased economic cooperation, he said Monday ahead his planned meeting with the Korean president.

Sakakibara made the comments during a meeting with the Federation of Korean Industries. The two business groups plan to issue a joint statement, the FKI said, in which they will pledge to work together to help bring about the first bilateral summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye.

Huh Chang Soo, chairman of the FKI, said at the beginning of the business meeting in Seoul that it is imperative to set an example for younger generations and instill hope for improved ties.

It’s the first meeting of the two groups since 2007, after holding annual gatherings since 1983. They will exchange views on business cooperation and regional economic integration in Asia during the latest gathering.

The head of Japan’s most influential business lobby was due to meet Park later in the day. He said he would relay his hopes that Tokyo-Seoul ties can be improved and that a summit between the two leaders can be organized.

Sakakibara will be the first head of a major Japanese business lobby to officially meet with Park since she took office in February 2013.

Japan-Korea relations have soured over a territorial dispute and differing interpretations of wartime history involving Japan.

Park has said she will not hold a bilateral summit unless Japan takes measures to address Korean women who are seeking compensation and an apology for being forced to work at wartime Japanese military brothels.

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