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S. Korea, Japan to broaden consular cooperation abroad

All News 21:11 April 29, 2016

SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Japan agreed Friday to promote consular cooperation to better protect their nationals in a third country, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said.

Closer partnerships between the neighboring countries in consular affairs are expected to help people-to-people exchanges as well, it added.

The agreement came at the 19th director general-level meeting on consular affairs in Seoul.

They plan to work together closely to help each other's citizens in case of emergency situations such as disasters or infectious diseases. It would include sharing information.

"The two sides also shared the understanding that deepening consular cooperation will serve as a catalyst for promoting people-to-people exchanges," the ministry said.

The number of Japanese visitors to South Korea, excluding flight crews, sharply dropped to 1.82 million in 2015 from 3.49 million in 2012, 2.71 million in 2013 and 2.25 million in 2014.

The consular talks are held every year. The next session will be held in Japan in the first half of 2017.

In Friday's talks, South Korea was represented by Kim Wan-joong, director-general of the ministry's consular affairs bureau, and his Japanese counterpart was Masaki Noke, who leads the same office in the country's foreign ministry.

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