Foreign Minister Hayashi, who is visiting South Korea, met with President Yoon Seok-yeol, who took office on the 10th, and expressed his belief that it is necessary to resolve the concerns between the two countries in order to improve Japan-South Korea relations. We have confirmed that we will communicate closely between the governments.

At the beginning of the meeting, Minister Hayashi handed over a letter from Prime Minister Kishida, while President Yun said, "I hope that he will work with Prime Minister Kishida to improve relations between the two countries. I would like to see the Prime Minister in the meantime. "

Then, Minister Hayashi said, "In the current international situation where the order based on the rules is threatened, there is no waiting for the improvement of Japan-South Korea relations. For that purpose, there are concerns such as the problem of workers from the former Korean Peninsula. A solution is needed. "

In response, President Yun said, "We attach great importance to Japan-South Korea relations and would like to cooperate together to improve the relations." confirmed.

After the meeting, Minister Hayashi told reporters, "This visit was an important opportunity to directly communicate Japan's consistent position to the new South Korean government and to communicate closely." rice field.

Based on this visit, Minister Hayashi also expressed his intention to invite Mr. Park Jin, a candidate for foreign minister of the new Yun administration, to Japan for a meeting.

Japan-South Korea relations deteriorated under the Mun administration

Relations between Japan and South Korea have cooled to the point of being the worst after the war under the former Moon Jae-in administration.

The trigger was the issue of "recruitment" during the Pacific War, and in October 2018, the Supreme Court of South Korea ordered Japanese companies to compensate for the first time.

The Government of Japan has repeatedly urged the Government of South Korea to rectify the state of violation of international law, saying that the issue of "recruitment" has been resolved under the Japan-Korea Claims Agreement of 1965.

On the other hand, the Mun administration did not change its stance of respecting judicial decisions from the principle of separation of three powers, and the procedure for "monetizing" the assets of Japanese companies in South Korea proceeded.

Under such circumstances, in July 2019, the Japanese government took measures to tighten export control to South Korea for three items such as semiconductor raw materials, saying that the trade control system on the South Korean side is insufficient and there are security concerns. I did.

In response to this, the opposition to Japan intensified in South Korea, the boycott of Japanese products spread, and demonstrations protesting the Abe administration at that time were repeated.

The Mun administration strongly opposed the retaliation for the issue of "recruitment" and announced in August 2019 that it would abolish the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan.

Three months later, when the GSOMIA was about to expire, the Mun administration decided to turn around and maintain the status quo, but insisted that it could be terminated at any time.

Furthermore, over the issue of comfort women, a Korean district court ordered the Japanese government to compensate former comfort women for women in January last year, whereas the Japanese government is not allowed to submit to Korean jurisdiction. The judgment has been finalized without appealing.

In addition, the Mun administration has expressed strong regret and protested that the Japanese government recommended UNESCO to register "Sado Island's Kanayama" in Niigata Prefecture as a World Cultural Heritage site.

In this way, Japan and South Korea had a lot of challenges during the five years under the Mun administration, but the summit meeting was not held at the end of December 2019, and it is possible to find clues for improving relations. Without being able to do so, the solution to the problem was postponed to the next Yoon Suk-yeol administration.