Bilateral cooperation towards a successful PyeongChang Winter Olympics

January 24 , 2018

Yamaguchi meets with South Korean Ambassador Lee Su-hoon on Jan. 23Yamaguchi meets with South Korean Ambassador Lee Su-hoon on Jan. 23

Komeito Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi met with South Korean Ambassador to Japan Lee Su-hoon on January 23 at the Komeito headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Komeito Secretary General Yoshihisa Inoue, Chair of the Board of Directors for the House of Councilors Yuichiro Uozumi, and International Affairs Bureau Director Kiyohiko Toyama were also in attendance.

At the start of their meeting, Yamaguchi conveyed his hopes for the success of the Pyeongchang Olympics slated to begin on February 9, stressing that regional cooperation between Japan, China and South Korea would be key to ensure the success of not only the winter games in PyeongChang but also the 2020 Olympiad in Tokyo and the winter Olympics scheduled to take place in Beijing in 2022.

With regards to South Korea making the Olympics an opportunity to advance dialogue with North Korea, Ambassador Lee said the country hopes to ensure that peaceful conditions can continue even after the winter games, eventually leading to the denuclearization of North Korea. In response, Yamaguchi conveyed that most Japanese are not so optimistic about North-South talks leading to the denuclearization of the region, and while such dialogue is vital, of greater importance is working closely with the international community to bring about a solution. We must especially strive to strengthen cooperation between Japan, US and South Korea, and deepen mutual trust between the countries, he said.

In terms of the South Korean government’s announcement of its new policy toward the comfort women issue and its effects on the (2015) Japan-South Korea agreement, Yamaguchi voiced that the majority of Japanese are concerned about whether the terms of the bilateral agreement will be respected and hope action will be taken to implement what had been decided.

The officials also discussed the realization of a Japan-China-South Korea summit and the vital need to resume a shuttle diplomacy initiative in which the leaders of Japan and South Korea visit each other’s countries every year.