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Abe's special envoy to visit S. Korean province this week

All Headlines 14:30 June 07, 2017

MUAN, South Korea, June 7 (Yonhap) -- A group of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's special envoys will visit South Korea's southwestern province of South Jeolla as part of a four-day trip to South Korea, officials at the provincial government said Wednesday.

The group, led by Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, will make a stopover in Mokpo, a coastal city in the province, on Saturday-Sunday before departing for Seoul to hold talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to convey a letter from Abe to Moon to lay the groundwork for a summit between the two leaders.

Nikai will be accompanied by 300 people, including Masanao Ozaki, governor of Kochi Prefecture that has formed a sister relationship pact with South Jeolla, and representatives of the Japanese tourism industry.

During the stay in the South Korean province, the delegation is scheduled to tour a memorial on the late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and an orphanage called Gongsaengwon.

The orphanage is closely connected with Yoon Hak-ja, who had the Japanese name Chizuko Tauchi and hailed from Kochi Prefecture. Touted as the Japanese mother of Korean orphans, Yoon raised 3,000 Korean orphans at the orphanage after her Korean husband, who ran it, went missing during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Nikai is known to be on friendly terms with South Korea's new Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, formerly the South Jeolla governor, and Park Jie-won, former leader of the minor opposition People's Party.

"The visit to South Jeolla by the special envoys' group is expected to give support to the prime minister," an official at the South Jeolla provincial government said. "We hope the visit will lead to the activation of exchanges between South Jeolla and Japan."

Toshihiro Nikai (L), chief of the General Council of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, meets Park Jie-won, floor leader of the minor opposition People's Party, at a Seoul hotel in this file photo dated May 2, 2016. (Yonhap)

namsh@yna.co.kr
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