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The Prime Minister in Action

Japan-Korea Business Conference

May 15, 2018

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address
[Provisional Translation]
On May 15, 2018, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the 50th meeting of the Japan-Korea Business Conference held in Tokyo.
The Prime Minister said in his address,
“Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado, Chairman of the Korea-Japan Economic Association Kim Yoon, Chairman of the Japan-Korea Economic Association Mikio Sasaki, and all of the representatives of Japanese and Korean business circles, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the participants gathering here today on this landmark 50th meeting of the Japan-Korea Business Conference.
This Japan-Korea Business Conference have  held consecutive fifty meetings without a single cancellation, alternately in Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), regardless of the overall state of Japan-ROK relations. In that sense, the development of this conference parallels the history of Japan and the ROK  strengthening our  economic relations  after the normalization of our diplomatic relations. The roles that this Conference has played over the last half century cannot be understated. Various exchange programs, including the Japan-ROK high school eorganized by the Korea-Japan and Japan-Korea Economic Associations The Japan-ROK Youth exchange camps and other exchange programs have also made tremendous contributions to the expansion of people-to-people exchanges between our two countries.
Last week, the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting was held in Tokyo, and President Moon Jae-in made the first visit to Japan by the President of the ROK in seven years. Taking this opportunity, we also held a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting, where we once again confirmed that our countries would continue to build future-oriented Japan-ROK relations.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Japan-Republic of Korea Joint Declaration on a New Japan-Republic of Korea Partnership towards the Twenty-first Century that was signed by then Prime Minister Obuchi and then President Kim Dae-jung of the ROK. President Moon Jae-in and I have instructed the designated authorities respectively to give due consideration over a new form of Japan-ROK relations toward the 20th anniversary of this Joint Declaration in October.
Diverse and active economic exchanges and people-to-people exchanges are crucial for the development of such future-oriented Japan-ROK relations. Japan and the ROK are each other’s third largest trading partner, and we are now seeing collaborations between companies of the two countries in a variety of fields. In recent years, companies of Japan and the ROK have been jointly expanding their businesses in third countries in the fields such as nature development and infrastructure development. Moreover, common challenges that Japan and the ROK are facing, such as the ageing of society and declining birthrate, energy, and environmental issues, could all present great business opportunities in the future. I strongly hope that companies of Japan and the ROK will engage in collaborations even further and become the hub of the creation of new ideas, new products, and new services.
In addition, at the recent Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting, the three countries shared the view that we would continue to collaborate toward the conclusion of a high quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) within this year and for the acceleration of negotiations on a Japan-ROK-China free trade agreement (FTA). The Government of Japan will promote initiatives in order to encourage economic partnerships between our two countries.
With respect to people-to-people exchanges, more than 9 million people traveled between Japan and the ROK last year, a historic high. In particular, the number of visitors from the ROK to Japan has increased at a rapid pace in recent years and the ROK is second to only China in the number of visitors to Japan each year. I myself went to the ROK to attend the Opening Ceremony for the PyeongChang Olympic Games and watched an ice hockey match. I saw many Japanese people at the stadium. On the days that followed, many Japanese continued to go and watch  the PyeongChang Olympic Games and the subsequent Paralympic Games. The close friendships between athletes from Japan and the ROK deeply moved people around the world. In particular, as noted a moment ago, the scene of Ms. Nao Kodaira and Ms. Lee Sang-hwa congratulating each other after their speed skating tournament was very moving for many people across the globe. I would like to express my sincere congratulations once again on the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and my respect for all the hard work of everyone in the ROK involved with these Games. By carrying forward this momentum to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, I hope that exchanges between the people of our two countries will develop even further.
In this way, economic exchanges and people-to-people exchanges are the foundation of the Japan-ROK relations. The Government will continue to work hard to promote such exchanges between our two countries.
Lastly, I would like to conclude my remarks on behalf of the Government of Japan by wishing for the further success of the Japan-Korea Business Conference and the further development of our two economies as well as the further promotion of exchanges of businesspersons between Japan and the ROK. Thank you very much.”

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