Japan Hopes South Korea to Uphold Promises After Recent Election

The Japanese government expects South Korea to continue the current president’s “approach to addressing the long-standing bilateral issue of wartime labor despite his party’s defeat in a general election.” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi made the comments during an April 11th press conference in response to South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol’s People Power Party (PPP) loss in the legislative election on April 10th.

Hayashi also said the government “believes Seoul will continue to deal” with the issue based on a March 2023 promise. The promise involved Japan setting up “a government-backed fund to pay compensation to South Korean plaintiffs who won their lawsuits” instead of suing the Japanese companies.

The Chief Cabinet Secretary did not comment on the election, but Hayashi did say that Japan will continue to communicate with their South Korean counterparts so improvements in bilateral relations can be sustained.

Relations between Japan and South Korea improved significantly during Yoon’s time in office, beginning in May 2022.