July 29, 2019
Tokyo--Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday it is "very regrettable" that the southern South Korean city of Busan decided to suspend its administrative exchange programs with Japan until bilateral relations improve.
"For the future of Japan-South Korea relations, interactions at individual and municipal levels should be maintained, as they form the basis of mutual understanding," Suga told a press conference.
The Busan city government announced the exchange programs' suspension on Sunday, following Japan's tightening of its export controls on South Korea.
Suga indicated his hopes for an extension of the Japan-South Korea general security of military information agreement, or GSOMIA, which enables the two countries to share defense secrets.
The GSOMIA, concluded in November 2016, is renewed automatically every year unless one of the countries notifies the other of its intention to scrap the pact.
The current pact is up for renewal in August.
"It's crucial (for Japan and South Korea) to collaborate with each other on challenges that need cooperation," Suga said. "We hope to respond appropriately based on this point." Jiji Press
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