Korea-Japan biz meeting rescheduled for late Sept. in Seoul amid trade row

Han Ye-kyung and Minu Kim

South Korean and Japanese business leaders will meet in Seoul at a time bilateral relationship has hit the worst level as disputes over past and diplomatic issues built up to a trade row and consumer boycott.

Korea-Japan Business Conference, organized by the Korea-Japan Economic Association and its counterpart in Japan, was rescheduled to Sept. 24-25 after the May 13-15 meeting was put off indefinitely amid worsening bilateral relations between the two countries. A cultural exchange program set for Sept. 1 will be held as scheduled.

The new date was agreed on during a meeting held in Tokyo last week between Samyang Holdings Corp. Chairman Kim Yoon, head of Korea-Japan Economic Association, and his Japanese counterpart Sasaki Mikio, who is special adviser at Mitsubishi Corp.

Bilateral ties have developed to an unprecedented level with Koreans voluntarily calling off trips to Japan and refraining from buying Japanese brands after Japan earlier this month curbed exports of high-tech materials critical in manufacturing Korea’s two mainstay export items displays and semiconductors on security reasons. Japan has threatened to remove Korea from its whitelist of countries granted preferential export procedures later this week. Seoul believes the move is a retaliatory action for Seoul’s court rulings on wartime forced labor.

Korea-Japan Business Conference was first launched in 1969, four years after the two countries normalized ties, to promote cooperation in the private sector.

This year’s business meeting will focus on ways to further strengthen cooperation between Korea and Japan in the fast-changing economy. The organizers also plan to announce a joint statement with policy proposals from business perspectives regarding the relations between the two countries.

The organizers said business leaders from both sides agreed on the importance of continuing exchanges in business, culture and other private sectors and hope their annual meeting will be held in a favorable environment with a process of dialogue between the governments of South Korea and Japan.

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