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Three 'cushions' help Japan, South Korea leaders hold first talks

Nations devise strategy to blunt domestic opposition to reconciliation efforts

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meet in New York on Sept. 21. (Photo courtesy of Japan's Cabinet Public Affairs Office/Kyodo)

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol held their first face-to-face talks on Sept. 21 in New York. The brief meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, was the first between leaders of the two countries since December 2019, and both sides had carefully prepared for the occasion to avoid backlash at home.

The 30-minute talks were described by Tokyo and Seoul as "informal," indicating their delicate nature, as both leaders must consider voter sentiment in their countries.

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