Japan, South Korea leaders pray at memorial for Korean atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima

HIROSHIMA, Japan — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol prayed together Sunday, May 21, 2023, at a memorial for Korean victims of the 1945 atomic bombing in Hiroshima on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit, as the two leaders continued efforts to mend ties repeatedly hurt by disputes stemming from Japan’s wartime brutality.

Yoon is in Hiroshima with leaders from seven other guest nations and G7 countries for “outreach” sessions on Sunday, the last day of the three-day summit.

Yoon and Kishida, accompanied by their first ladies, stood in front of the memorial where they laid bouquets of white flowers and lowered their heads as they paid tribute to tens of thousands of Koreans who died in the attack 78 years ago.

Yoon is the first South Korean leader to visit the memorial, underscoring the thawing in their rocky relations.

Yoon, at the outset of his talks with Kishida later Sunday morning, praised the Japanese prime minister for his “sincere determination” to improve ties.

The meeting is the third between them in two months since Yoon made an ice-breaking visit to Tokyo in March. He said he hoped to deepen cooperation not only between the two sides but also on global issues “based on our deep relationship of trust.” (AP)