Japanese Emperor 'Wants to Visit Korea'

Japanese Emperor Akihito Japanese Emperor Akihito

Japanese Emperor Akihito has expressed a wish to visit Korea, a Japanese weekly reported.

According to weekly Women Themselves on Thursday, Akihito told Koji Tsuruoka, the director-general for global issues at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, on Sept. 4 he and his wife "wish to visit Korea some day. I hope Japan and Korea will continue to maintain friendly relations in the future."

This is the first report of a response from Akihito since President Lee Myung-bak recently demanded that the emperor apologize for Japan's colonial atrocities if he wants to visit Korea.

The emperor made the remark during a regular brief by the ministry on diplomatic issues between Japan and Korea and China.

In the past Akihito has said he is willing to apologize if it benefits the friendship between the two countries, the weekly said.

In 1986, when he was crown prince, Akihito planned to visit Korea but had to abandon the plan because of his wife's poor health.

englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 21, 2012 09:52 KST