Japan's first lady Akie Abe was distressed by online attacks from Japanese people because of her interest in Korean culture, she told a Korean lawmaker. Abe attended a Korea-Japan festival at Hibiya Park in Tokyo last month and told Saenuri Party lawmaker Kim Tae-hwan that she was upset by online comments targeting her whenever she attends a Korea-related event.
Kim quoted her as saying Japanese people did not seem to understand her "true intentions." Her eyes apparently welled up with tears as she spoke.
Media reports noted her distress but did not explain what upset her.
Akie Abe is known for her interest in Korean culture, but this was the first time she attended a Korea-related event in her official capacity since her husband Shinzo Abe became prime minister last December.
She is active on Facebook, posting around 70 comments this year for some 42,000 followers.
In May, she posted a photo of herself at a Korean musical in Tokyo, which drew hateful comments from rightwingers. The first lady said she just wants Japan to get along with other countries.
In an interview with Jiji Press in June this year, she vowed to "keep getting involved" in efforts to improve Seoul-Tokyo relations.
Earlier this week at the APEC Summit in Indonesia, Akie Abe approached President Park Geun-hye and said hello in Korean, according to Cheong Wa Dae.