South Korea‘s foreign ministry said Monday it has sent a draft of a letter that will be sent to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the presidential office for review ahead of Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon’s planned visit to Tokyo this week.
Lee will visit Japan from Tuesday to Thursday to attend the Japanese emperor‘s enthronement event amid frayed ties between South Korea and Japan over the issue of Tokyo’s wartime forced labor.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (left) and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Yonhap)
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who declined to disclose details of the letter, confirmed it has been forwarded to Cheong Wa Dae.
Consultations are under way to set out details of Lee‘s meeting with Abe, although it is likely to take place on Thursday for around 10 minutes.
Kang said the two countries are still working on finer points of the meeting and hinted it may run longer, depending on developments.
It will be the first high-level meeting between the two nations since diplomatic tensions flared over the Korean top court’s 2018 rulings over Japan‘s forced labor during the 1910-45 colonial rule period.
Since July, Japan has been implementing tougher trade restrictions against South Korea, citing security issues. The move, however, is widely seen as economic retaliation against the ruling that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean victims of Tokyo’s wartime forced labor.