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S. Korea, Japan to launch college exchange program

May 26, 2023 - 15:06 By Choi Si-young
President Yoon Suk Yeol (right) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the presidential office in Seoul on May 7, 2023. (Yoon’s offfice)

South Korea and Japan are discussing launching a college exchange program that leaders of the two countries agreed on at their March summit, reports said Friday.

The program is intended to open a new era by educating the next generation, as the two Asian neighbors seek to move past major historical disputes involving Japan’s 1910-45 rule of the peninsula.

The March meeting essentially brought closure to making amends to Koreans forced to work for Japanese firms during the colonial period, prompting “shuttle diplomacy,” or regular visits to each other’s countries by the two leaders, after a 12-year hiatus.

“The student exchange program will be modeled after the popular Erasmus Program,” an anonymous official of the ruling People Power Party said in reports, referring to a European Union initiative launched in 1987 for student exchanges.

“The future partnership fund will bankroll overseas stays for both Korean and Japanese students,” the official added, citing a fund the two countries unveiled at the March summit, indicating that the biggest business lobby groups in Seoul and Tokyo will handle the fund.

The scholarship program is likely to accept applications from as early as March next year, according to reports.