SEOUL — Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will make a two-day visit to Seoul from Oct. 18 for talks with South Korean President Lee Myung Bak in an attempt to develop future-oriented ties between the two countries, officials said Thursday.
Genba told a news conference in Seoul after the meeting that Noda, who became prime minister about a month ago, will meet with Lee on Oct. 19 for "frank discussions" on a range of issues.
Genba said he also agreed with Kim to accelerate consultations at a senior level toward an early resumption of deadlocked negotiations on a bilateral free-trade agreement and work closely on issues related to North Korea.
It is Genba's first overseas trip for a bilateral meeting since he assumed his post on Sept. 2.
Genba has repeatedly said Japan has "a vital interest" in maintaining good relations with South Korea as the two countries share democratic values and embrace the free market system. He first held face-to-face talks with Kim in New York on Sept. 24 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session.
Genba told Kim that Tokyo wants to transfer to South Korea a total of 1,205 volumes of royal documents brought to Japan during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula at an "appropriate time."
During their talks, Kim again raised the issue of compensation for Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers during the war, according to the officials.
But Genba reiterated Japan's stance that the issue of "comfort women," as the victims are euphemistically referred to in Japan, was settled by a bilateral treaty in 1965 that normalized diplomatic relations between the two countries, the officials said.
Genba, meanwhile, said he touched on the issue of disputed, Seoul-controlled islets known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.
"I will avoid going into details. But you are aware of Japan's stance," Genba said.
Noda may take Korean historical archives to SeoulKyodo
When Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visits Seoul this month, he may take with him some of the Korean historical archives to be returned by Japan to South Korea, diplomatic sources said Saturday.
Noda is scheduled to make a two-day trip to Seoul from Oct. 18.
A treaty to return historical archives brought to Japan during the 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula took effect in June, paving the way for their return later this year.
The pact stipulates that 1,205 volumes, including royal records of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), will be transferred within six months of it taking effect.
Tensions are currently high over a disputed set of outcroppings in the Sea of Japan that are held by South Korea, and compensation demands by Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Imperial Japanese Army soldiers during the war.
Officials initially considered returning the historical archives during Lee's visit to Japan, but scheduling his trip has stalled due to the spike in bilateral tensions. Noda is therefore considering taking some of the volumes with him to nudge Seoul to continue preparing for Lee's trip, they said.
According to South Korean government sources, Lee Sang Deuk, the president's elder brother and head of the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' Union, told visiting Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba on Thursday that tensions could be eased if Noda takes some of the archives with him.
Source 1, Source 2
Anyone interested in reading the content of the Japan-South Korea treaty in 1965 regarding the compensation, can read here. It's still a long way to go, but it's nice to know both sides are making efforts.