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Former Japan PM seeks to meet S. Korean leader

Publication Date : 07-10-2012


Former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso is reportedly seeking to meet South Korea President Lee Myung-bak next week to deliver Tokyo's message on improving the bilateral ties strained over the diplomatic spat surrounding Dokdo islets (known in Japan as Takeshima).

Kyodo News reported yesterday that Aso, who held the premiership from September 2008 for a year, hopes to visit Seoul today and have talks with Lee at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae the next day.

Aso of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party is expected to deliver a message from Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda or Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba.

Tokyo seeks to bring the row over Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo to the International Court of Justice, a move Seoul has dismissed as it appears to be part of Japan's strategy to make the row an international dispute.

Its refusal to recognise its colonial atrocities and make a sincere apology for them has angered Koreans. Japan colonised the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945.

Aso is to come here as the bilateral cooperation committee consisting of the two neighbours' high-profile business and political figures holds its general assembly in Seoul for two days from today. He is to represent the Japanese side.

He is known to be a close associate of Shinzo Abe, who returned last month to the top post of the LDP, pledging to make Japan a "strong nation" -- remarks highlighting his conservative, nationalist policy orientation.


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