First lady meets with Korean women residing in Japan

First lady Kim Keon Hee met Wednesday with a group of Korean women residing in Japan, thanking them for their contributions to the Korean community there and their help in promoting bilateral exchanges, the presidential office said.

Kim held a tea meeting at the presidential office with leaders of an association of Korean women in Japan, which was established in 1949 and claims a membership of more than 100,000, according to presidential spokesperson Lee Do-woon.

"As daughters and mothers of the Republic of Korea, you are working hard for the Korean community, and for exchanges between South Korea and Japan," Lee quoted Kim as saying, referring to South Korea by its formal name. "It is more meaningful to have you here today in the sense of renewing the South Korea-Japan relationship."

South Korea-Japan relations have improved significantly under President Yoon Suk Yeol, after his administration decided in March to compensate Korean victims of Japanese wartime forced labor without asking for contributions from the Japanese companies involved.

Cho Hyeon-ja, the leader of the association's Hiroshima chapter, relayed the deep emotion she felt when Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida jointly paid tribute to Korean victims of the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing at a memorial in the city during the president's visit there in May.

Kim responded that the joint tribute resulted from the president's decision to "give strength" to the Korean community by reestablishing South Korea-Japan ties, Lee said.

"Historically, South Korea and Japan grew together through competition and cooperation," she was quoted as saying. "I, too, will help so that our compatriots, including our compatriots in Japan, can live with even greater pride." (Yonhap)

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