South Korean consul general, Hiroshima mayor agree to promote exchange among citizens

by Michiko Tanaka and Eriko Shintani, Staff Writers

On March 31, Seo Jang-eun, 48, who has assumed the post of consul general of South Korea in Hiroshima, met with Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at Hiroshima City Hall. With relations between Japan and South Korea cooling, they agreed to promote exchange among their citizens.

Dr. Seo stressed that exchange among citizens was important, especially when facing political difficulties, and that good relations as neighbors can soon be cultivated. He also voiced support for the efforts of Mayors for Peace, for which Mr. Matsui serves as president. Mayors for Peace is seeking the abolition of nuclear weapons by the year 2020. Dr. Seo said that he would call on local governments in South Korea to join the organization.

Mr. Matsui commented, “If our citizens deepen ties with one another, we can create opportunities to resolve issues that the two nations have found difficult to overcome.”

Dr. Seo also met with Hiroshima Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki at the Prefectural Government Office and said that he would like to support Hiroshima Prefecture’s efforts to create a road map to realize a more peaceful future.

Dr. Seo was deputy mayor for Political Affairs in the Seoul Metropolitan Government, among other positions. He backed incumbent Park Geun-hye in South Korea’s presidential election in 2012, serving as the director of the Strategic Planning Task Force for the Saenuri Party.

(Originally published April 1, 2014)