• Jiji


New Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Koichi Aiboshi arrived at Incheon International Airport near Seoul on Friday after a three-day delay to start work in his new post, according to diplomatic sources.

Aiboshi, 62, was initially scheduled to enter South Korea on Tuesday. However, his arrival was delayed after his departure from Israel, his previous posting, was postponed due to flight restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Koichi Aiboshi | KYODO
Koichi Aiboshi | KYODO

Aiboshi’s top order of business will be to tackle soured ties between Seoul and Tokyo. He is expected to urge the South Korean government to move to resolve a series of issues that have strained ties, including rows over wartime labor and “comfort women” who suffered under Japan’s military brothel system before and during World War II.

Attention has been growing as to whether the new ambassador’s arrival will represent a turning point in the chilled ties, South Korean media has reported.

Previously, when a new Japanese ambassador to South Korea arrived in the country, reporters were given access to the diplomat. This time, however, such an opportunity was not provided, ostensibly due to coronavirus prevention measures.

After joining the Japanese Foreign Ministry in 1983, Aiboshi served as minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, as well as director-general for global issues and director-general of the Consular Affairs Bureau at the ministry.

Just before taking up the post of ambassador to South Korea, Aiboshi served as Japan’s top envoy to Israel from July 2018.

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