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Nearly half of firms expect relations with Japan to improve under incoming Yoon gov't: poll

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One in every 4 Korean companies anticipated that bilateral relations with Japan will improve under the incoming government of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, a poll showed Wednesday.

In a survey on 327 companies, 45.3 percent said they picture improved Seoul-Tokyo ties after the launch of the new government, slated for May 10, while 44 percent expected no change in the bilateral relations, according to the poll by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

Of the respondents, 10.7 percent said the relations will further worsen.

The latest poll draws a contrast from a similar KCCI survey conducted six months ago, in which only 12.9 percent said they expect improvement in the bilateral relations, with more than 80 percent expecting the status quo and 6.4 percent expecting the relations to get worse.

The most pressing bilateral issues to be addressed, they said, were resolving the row over Japan's curbs on the exports of key industrial materials to Korea.

They also picked the supply chain issue, such as the semiconductor shortage, as an area where the two countries can cooperate on, besides other fields such as people-to-people exchanges and carbon neutrality.

The majority of the companies said they are ready to increase bilateral trade with and bolster investment in Japan when the relations improve.

Yoon's seven-member delegation, led by Rep. Chung Jin-suk of the People Power Party, will visit Japan from April 24-28 to meet government officials, lawmakers, those from business circles and others there to coordinate policy on pending bilateral and other issues.

The Seoul-Tokyo ties remain frayed over historical and economic disputes stemming from Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

But bilateral relations have worsened further since 2019, when Japan imposed a series of trade restrictions against Korea in what many viewed as economic retaliation against Seoul court decisions in favor of Koreans forced into free labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule. (Yonhap)

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