|Participants make bibimbap, a popular Korean dish, together in the opening ceremony of the Korea Japan Festival 2013 at Hibiya Park in Tokyo on Saturday. Among them are Kim Tae-whan (left), a lawmaker of the Saenuri Party, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife Akie Abe (second from left), South Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Byung-kee (third from left), Princess Takamadonomiya (fourth from left) and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (sixth from left). (Yonhap News)|
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife Akie Abe recently posted a Facebook message hoping for the restoration of strained relations between South Korea and Japan.
According to the Asahi Shimbun and reports in other media on Monday, the 51-year-old wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe disclosed in the post that she attended the Korea Japan Festival 2013, one of Japan’s largest events for cultural exchanges between the two countries, at Hibiya Park in Tokyo on Saturday.
It also showed a photo her joining Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Byung-kee, Saenuri Party lawmaker Kim Tae-whan and other participants in an event to make bibimbap in a large bowl.
Some Japanese netizens posted critical replies such as “I feel out of place,” or “No way to exchanges with South Korea.”
Noting that Japanese Princess Takamadonomiya also attended the event, Akie expressed her wish for friendly relations between South Korea and Japan.
“There are various thoughts, but I, for one, would like to be on good terms with South Korea because it is our neighbor,” she said.
Her Facebook message received more than 1,500 likes, along with many positive comments, by Sunday afternoon.
She is known as a fan of South Korean soap operas and the late Korean actor Park Yong-ha.
When she visited South Korea in 2006, she read a Korean textbook to students at Gwanghee Elementary School in Seoul.
In October last year, a Japanese weekly reported she had stopped watching a Korean soap opera, possibly affected by mounting tensions between the two countries.
By Chun Sung-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org)