TOKYO, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) — Lawmakers from South Korea and Japan on Thursday vowed to step up efforts to help mend the frayed ties between the two countries.

Seven members of the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians’ Union arrived in Tokyo for a three-day visit as the two countries are quickening moves to improve relations since the inauguration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

They held a face-to-face meeting with their counterparts to discuss ways to boost cooperation and exchanges between the two sides.

During the meeting, the two groups agreed to form a special committee dedicated to bilateral cooperation efforts for the Tokyo Olympic Games, which have been delayed to next year due to the pandemic. It was proposed by the South Korean side.

The Japanese lawmakers also accepted a suggestion to hold a joint seminar to promote mutual exchanges next year.

“Political circles should help people from the two nations to better understand each other and create the environment and conditions for leaders from the two countries to solve problems,” said Rep. Kim Jin-pyo of the ruling Democratic Party, who heads the union.

South Korea and Japan have clashed over Tokyo’s export curbs that are seen as political retaliation for Korean Supreme Court rulings in 2018 that ordered Japanese firms to compensate victims of forced labor during Japan’s 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

Fukushiro Nukaga of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who leads the Japanese delegation, said that Tokyo lawmakers will be grateful if the two sides can work together to build a new bilateral relationship.

He stressed that both countries may lose their leadership in the region if their relationship fails to advance, citing the anticipated signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region.

Seoul’s lawmakers plan to meet with Japan’s new leader Suga, who took office in September, on Friday.

They are also scheduled to meet other political leaders on the same day, including Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief of the Komeito Party, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Yukio Edano, head of the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party.

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