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Yoon's visit to Japan this month under strong consideration

March 7, 2023 - 09:57 By Yonhap
President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida greet each other ahead of the Korea-Japan summit at a conference building in New York on Sept. 21, 2022. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol could visit Japan this month for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida following Seoul's decision to compensate wartime forced labor victims without Japanese firms' involvement, the presidential office said Tuesday.

The visit is under strong consideration, the office said, making it the first time in four years detailed discussions are taking place over a South Korean president's visit to Japan.

Kyodo News and other Japanese media outlets have reported Yoon could visit the neighboring country on March 16-17.

The trip would come on the heels of Seoul's decision to compensate Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor through a foundation supported by donations from South Korean businesses, not the Japanese firms accused of forced labor.

The announcement of the plan Monday was seen as a show of Seoul's strong commitment to improving badly frayed relations with Japan in the face of growing security threats posed by North Korea and China.

Yoon is also expected to visit Washington next month on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the South Korea-US alliance.

If both visits materialize, they could help bolster Yoon's push to strengthen trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the United States and Japan to tackle regional and global challenges.

The possibility has also been raised that the three countries' leaders could sit down for talks during a Group of Seven summits slated for May in Hiroshima, Japan, if South Korea is invited as a guest. (Yonhap)