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Yoon, Kishida summit planned; Fukushima wastewater likely on agenda

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : July 12, 2023 - 05:05

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President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who visites Korea for a summit, shake hands after a joint press conference held at the presidential office in Yongsan, Seoul on May 7. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who visites Korea for a summit, shake hands after a joint press conference held at the presidential office in Yongsan, Seoul on May 7. (Yonhap)

VILNIUS, Lithuania – President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are scheduled for a summit Wednesday in Vilnius, Lithuania, alongside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit.

This Korea-Japan summit marks the first meeting in approximately two months since their bilateral discussion during the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in May. This will be their sixth official meeting.

A high-ranking official from the presidential office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “South Korea and Japan are in the same position to use this as an opportunity to strengthen trust and open up together and create an opportunity for cooperation.”

Anticipated to feature in the summit discussions is Japan's planned release of treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Japan intends to begin discharging this contaminated water in August. Recently, the International Atomic Energy Agency published a comprehensive report indicating that Fukushima's contaminated water discharge meets international safety standards.

The official stated, "We have not predetermined the talking points for the summit, but the Fukushima wastewater issue may well arise."

"The Fukushima disaster was a natural catastrophe that occurred 12 to 13 years ago. As a result, many countries in the Asia Pacific, including Japan, continue to face its repercussions,” he said. “Amid these challenges, Korea-Japan relations have been normalized since March.”

Although Yoon and Kishida are staying at the same hotel in Vilnius, they remain separated due to security restrictions, precluding any accidental encounters.