(LEAD) New Japanese ambassador to S. Korea vows to do his best for development of bilateral ties

New Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Koichi Mizushima said Friday he will do his best to improve bilateral relations between the two nations, calling Seoul an important partner for Tokyo. Mizushima made the remarks upon his arrival at Gimpo International Airport, west of Seoul, to begin his tenure as the top envoy. He is replacing the outgoing envoy, Koichi Aiboshi. "Relations have steadily progressed under the leadership of the two leaders since last year," he said, adding that he will work diligently to enhance this momentum. Relations between the two neighboring countries have significantly improved since President Yoon Suk Yeol took office in May 2022. The administration has emphasized the importance of cooperation for the benefit of future generations. His appointment comes ahead of a trilateral summit involving the leaders of South Korea, Japan and China, which is widely expected to take place in Seoul on May 26-27. The envoy also highlighted that Seoul is an "important" partner for Tokyo in dea ling with various tasks in the international community. Noting that next year marks the 60th anniversary of South Korea and Japan normalizing diplomatic relations, Mizushima said he will strive to achieve further development of the relationship. But when asked by reporters about controversies surrounding the popular Line messenger app, Mizushima remained silent. Local tech giant Naver Corp. has faced apparent pressure from the Japanese government to sell its stake in the operator of Line, the biggest messenger app in Japan that Naver developed, following a massive leak of user information last year. Later in the day, Mizushima submitted a copy of his credentials to Seoul's foreign ministry and made a courtesy call on First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun. When asked about whether he has any message from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the diplomat briefly said, "Not today." The 62-year-old diplomat served as a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul from July 2017-2019, before becoming the top envoy to Israel in January 2021. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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