Japan-Republic of Korea Summit Meeting (Overview)

(Photos: Cabinet Public Relations Office)

January 12, 2009

During his visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK), Prime Minister Taro Aso held Japan-ROK bilateral summit talks with President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea for approximately one hour from 9 AM on January 12. An overview of the results of this summit meeting is provided below.

1. Firmly establishing "Shuttle Summit Diplomacy"

The two leaders confirmed that through this visit of Prime Minister Aso, "shuttle summit diplomacy" had become firmly established. They also agreed that President Lee would visit Japan at an appropriate time this year.

2. Giving concrete form to cooperation within the international community

(1) Joint Research Project on a New Era of Japan-ROK Relations

On the theme of "a Japan-ROK bilateral relationship in which both countries contribute together to the international community," the two leaders agreed to launch in the near future a "Joint Research Project on a New Era of Japan-ROK Relations," in which experts from both countries would conduct research across a broad range of fields.

(2) Cooperation in the area of development assistance

The two leaders agreed to further enhance their cooperation in the area of development assistance. In addition, based on the discussions during the Japan-ROK bilateral summit talks in Fukuoka in December 2008, consultations between relevant departments of both countries will be held to examine the possibility of bilateral cooperation for assistance to Afghanistan.

(3) North Korean issues

The two leaders confirmed their two countries' basic stance to have North Korea abandon its nuclear programs through the Six-Party Talks and they agreed to work in close cooperation also with the incoming United States administration.

Prime Minister Aso explained Japan's position on Japan-North Korea bilateral relations and stated, "The issue of abduction is a serious violation of human rights and must be resolved immediately." In response, President Lee stated, "There are also many victims of abduction in the ROK. North Korea must cooperate towards the resolution of this issue. The ROK shares Japan's views in this regard."

(4) The international economy

The two leaders confirmed that Japan and the ROK would continue to act in close cooperation towards the second Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy. In addition, they shared the recognition that it is necessary to prevent protectionism.

3. Further deepening of Japan-ROK relations

(1) Enhanced exchanges of youth

The two leaders welcomed the expansion of the number of working holiday visas that can be issued as well as the actual launch of "Exchanges between Japanese and Korean University Students" and confirmed that they would continue to promote exchanges of youth.

(2) A closer cooperative bilateral relationship in a variety of fields

The two leaders agreed to accelerate consideration of the resumption of negotiations on a Japan-ROK economic partnership agreement (EPA). In addition, they agreed to convene a "Japan-ROK Small and Medium-sized Enterprises CEO Forum" this summer, with persons involved with SMEs from both Japan and the ROK participating. Furthermore, Prime Minister Aso stated that the "Japan-ROK Parts and Supplies Procurement & Supply Trade Fair," a trade fair featuring suppliers, would be held in Seoul in April, to which President Lee responded by expressing his cordial welcome.

Both leaders welcomed progress in cooperation in the field of space, such as the decision to launch the ROK's multipurpose observation satellite on a Japanese H-IIA rocket. They also agreed to initiate negotiations on a Japan-ROK nuclear cooperation agreement.

Prime Minister Aso welcomed the soon-to-be-convened working-level consultations to preserve "Beautiful and Abundant Sea" and stated his expectations for bringing concrete shape to cooperation to reduce marine litter. Related to this, he also indicated the importance of cooperatively engaging in measures for resources management in the provisional waters stipulated under the Japan-ROK Fisheries Agreement.

Back to Index