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Korean and Japanese Business Leaders Call for Restoration of Korea-Japan Economic Relationship
A Political Dispute Hurting Economic Ties
Korean and Japanese Business Leaders Call for Restoration of Korea-Japan Economic Relationship
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • September 25, 2019, 10:00
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Business leaders of Korea and Japan stand hand in hand for a commemorative photo shoot at the 51st Korea-Japan Business Leaders Conference held at Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Sept. 24.

Business leaders of Korea and Japan expressed serious concern about the recent escalation of a conflict between the two governments, saying that "a political dispute is undermining the economic relationship between Korea and Japan."

About 300 Korean and Japanese businesspeople attended the 51st Korea-Japan Business Leaders' Conference held at the Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, Seoul for two days from Sept. 24. They agreed that an amicable relationship between Korea and Japan should be restored in the economic, political and diplomatic sectors.

Mikio Sasaki, chairman of the Japan-Korea Economic Association, said, "I am quite concerned that mutually beneficial economic ties between Korea and Japan are now facing a crisis."

In particular, "Koreans’ boycott of Japanese products reflects a very sad situation. The number of Korean tourists to Japan has been on the decline, affecting the Japanese tourism industry seriously," Mikio said. “It is necessary to put back on track political, diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries."

In the event, some critics said that politics was hurting the Korean and Japanese economy, which does not help each other. "Now a political conflict is negatively affecting the economy of the two countries, which is unprecedented," said a Japanese participant who asked for anonymity, while expressing his strong concern. “This must be stopped.”

“We must face the reality that Korea and Japan can only enjoy prosperity and stability when they maintain not only economic reciprocity but also strong security partnership,” said Sohn Kyung-shik, chairman of the Korea Employers Federation, in a keynote address on the day. "To build a new order for peace in Northeast Asia, mutual trust in Korea-U.S.-Japan cooperation really matters and Korea and Japan must seek realistic cooperation measures for a regional order, overcoming the other’s bad feelings."

Sohn continued to say, "The Korea-Japan trade dispute undermines the long-standing relationship between Korean and Japanese companies and triggers unpredictability in international supply chains. Accordingly, it will damage the virtuous cycle of the international division of labor and bring disadvantages to both Korean and Japanese companies."