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Yoon says S. Korea-Japan relations must leave past behind

March 21, 2023 - 10:52 By Yonhap
President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shake hands before talks in Tokyo, Japan on last Thursday. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol said Tuesday that bilateral relations between South Korea and Japan must leave the past behind and move forward, as he faces a growing backlash at home over a recent summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

"Korea-Japan relations must move beyond the past," Yoon told a Cabinet meeting.

The main opposition Democratic Party and other critics have blasted Yoon for cozying up to Japan at the expense of South Korea's national interests, after the government decided to compensate victims of Japan's wartime forced labor on its own without asking Japan for contributions.

The DP has also raised suspicions that Yoon could have made unannounced concessions to Japan, following Japanese news reports that the two leaders also discussed the issue of South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, Japan's wartime sexual slavery and Seoul's import ban on fisheries products from Japan's Fukushima.

In an apparent warning against opposition parties, Yoon said, "There are forces that shout exclusive nationalism, shout anti-Japanese and take political gains." (Yonhap)