April 07, 2016 09:35
Japan's Foreign Ministry has prepared a draft of its 2016 Diplomatic Bluebook that notes improving relations with Korea, the Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to unveil the latest annual foreign-policy report at a Cabinet meeting on April 15.
The Diplomatic Bluebook has been published every year since 1957.
The draft claims Japan's ties with Korea have improved since last year's bilateral deal to settle the issue of Korean women forced to into sexual slavery for the Imperial Army in World War II.
Korea and Japan agreed in December to resolve the issue after Tokyo pledged 1 billion yen to set up a Korean foundation aimed at helping the former sex slaves.
The draft says Seoul and Tokyo agreed to "finally and irreversibly" resolve the issue and adds that Korea-Japan ties are "indispensable" for peace and stability in Asia-Pacific.
The report typically reflects subtle shifts in the description of fractious ties with Seoul, this year plumbing for shared "strategic interests."
But the report reiterates Tokyo's flimsy colonial-era claim to Korea's easternmost Dokdo islets, so it remains to be seen how far ties can improve while rightwing revisionists under Prime Minister Shinzo Aber remain in power.
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