Factbox-What Japan, South Korea leaders achieved at first working meeting in 12 years


South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attend an honor guard ceremony ahead of their bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo, Japan, 16 March 2023. FRANCK ROBICHON/Pool via REUTERS


TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol met on Thursday in Tokyo, aiming to thaw years of diplomatic tension. It was the first visit by a South Korean leader to Japan for a bilateral working meeting in 12 years.

The following is what resulted:


Japan’s trade ministry said it would lift export curbs to South Korea on some high-tech materials, namely fluorinated polyimides, resists and hydrogen fluoride.

It said the decision came after confirming the effectiveness of South Korea’s export control regime at a three-day policy dialogue and South Korea’s plan to withdraw its complaint filed at the World Trade Organization on Japan’s export controls.

Tokyo imposed the curbs in 2019 as a dispute over the issue of how to compensate wartime forced labourers deepened. A Japanese trade ministry official said, however, that the lifting of the curbs was not related to the issue, a resolution of which was initiated by Yoon last week.


The two agreed to revive regular visits to each other’s countries, or “shuttle diplomacy”. Kishida said the visits would be frequent and informal, in hopes of building a personal relationship with Yoon.


The leaders agreed to restart a bilateral security dialogue, suspended since 2018, in view of what they called heightened threats to regional security with North Korea’s frequent missile launches. 

Yoon declared a “complete normalisation” of the intelligence-sharing GSOMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement) pact, which Seoul threatened to pull out of in 2019.


Kishida said the two countries will set up a conference to discuss economic security matters.


Japan’s biggest business lobby Keidanren and its South Korean counterpart, the Federation of Korean Industries, agreed to each set up a fund aimed at building “future-oriented” relations through joint projects in the areas of politics, economy and culture, and promote the exchange of younger people between the two nations.


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