South Korea's Lee Nak-yon and Japan business leaders affirm need for exchanges amid frayed ties


Visiting South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon and Japanese business leaders on Thursday spoke about the importance of the two countries’ business communities continuing personnel exchanges and dialogue amid frayed bilateral political ties.

The economies of South Korea and Japan are linked and such relations should not be stalled, Lee said at the beginning of a luncheon meeting with the Japanese business leaders in Tokyo.

Both governments should move to resolve bilateral issues and repair ties though wise steps, he said, stressing that the goal is achievable.

Tokyo-Seoul relations have deteriorated sharply due to wartime labor issues and a tit-for-tat trade battle, among other challenges.

Participants in the 90-minute session included Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of Keidanren, the nation’s biggest business lobby; Nobuyuki Koga, chairman of major brokerage house Nomura Holdings Inc.; and Mikio Sasaki, special adviser at major trader Mitsubishi Corp., who heads the Japan-Korea Economic Association.

One of the participating business leaders said the two countries should build a new relationship by working together on common challenges, such as the aging of society and responses to digital innovation.

Another expressed concern over slumping sales of Japanese-made consumer goods in South Korea.

While Japan and South Korea face many difficult issues, Lee and the business sector share the view that efforts should be made to improve the situation, Nakanishi told reporters after the meeting.

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