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If proof were needed of the dire state of ties between Japan and South Korea, how about this: Only 16.7% of South Koreans feel friendly toward Japanese, and a mere 20.2% of Japanese feel the same toward their western neighbors, a recent survey showed.

For those hoping for rapprochement between the two sides, all eyes will be on whether a meeting takes place between Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the upcoming G7 summit in Britain. But the mood music really isn’t good. Moon is “a lame duck,” a Foreign Ministry official tells Kyodo, and “we are not in the mood” to arrange talks.

Global Insight: Can the U.S. turn South Korea and Japan's sour relations into a strong alliance? | ARIRANG NEWS
Global Insight: Can the U.S. turn South Korea and Japan’s sour relations into a strong alliance? | ARIRANG NEWS

Even if a meeting does happen, without any movement from either side on wartime issues and the planned Fukushima water release, chances are it will be as unproductive as the talks between Tokyo and Seoul’s foreign ministers earlier this month at their G7 summit in London — the first time they had spoken in over a year.

A Seoul court judgment in April that contradicted a previous “comfort women” ruling offered a glimmer of hope for change, but while the result prevented ties worsening, it did little to restore trust lost between the countries in years of bickering, Satoshi Sugiyama reports. And so it continues.

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