Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the People of Japan
and the Republic of Korea
January 1, 2002
People of Japan and Korea,
A Very Happy New Year to you all.
We have now greeted the year 2002 and are at the beginning of what will be a historic year for both of our countries. I am delighted to be able to join with His Excellency President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea to make a joint New Year greeting to the people of Japan and Korea.
This year Japan and the Republic of Korea will co-host the 2002 FIFA World Cup. This is the event which our two countries for the first time in history will operate together to show the world. I truly hope that both peoples, Japanese and Korean alike will, hand in hand, put heart and soul into making the event successful.
Before the normalization of relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea 37 years ago, there was an annual flow of people between the two countries amounting to approximately 10,000 people. There is now a daily flow of 10,000 people.
This year is the "Year of Japan-Republic of Korea National Exchange," and, from now on a variety of events will be held in this connection. Given this opportunity, I sincerely hope that as many Korean people as possible will visit Japan. I hope that while getting to know each other, renewing old exchanges and cooperating together, our friendship will be deepened and our exchange will be given further depth as well.
The Government of Japan has been making efforts to make the relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea a genuine partnership. In an effort to ensure that all Korean people can make more leisurely visits to Japan, from today onwards, visa regulations for people of the Republic of Korea will be greatly relaxed. On the business front, the Bilateral Investment Treaty between Japan and the Republic of Korea has been concluded. This will further support the bilateral investment and strengthen our economic relationship.
This year too, I will make every effort to enhance the bilateral relations.
I expect that each and every person in Japan and Korea will show the world the firm bonds of friendship and trust between them.
Allow me to close by sincerely wishing that all the people of Japan and Korea may enjoy health and happiness.
Thank you very much.
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