Bridging the 'history gap' between Tokyo, Seoul

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On June 23, government-appointed scholars from Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo for the first time in two years in an attempt to rekindle talks aimed at bridging the "history gap" between the two countries.

The first round of talks ended in May 2005 with the South Korean and Japanese sides issuing separate statements indicating disagreement on virtually all issues in all the three historical periods covered.

In contrast to the icy atmosphere of the official history talks, on the local level, cooperation between Koreans and Japanese has been proceeding more smoothly. On the island of Tsushima, roughly halfway between Kyushu and the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, preparations are under way for the celebration of the annual Arirang Festival on the first weekend of August.

The Japanese festival with a Korean name commemorates the arrival in Japan of 12 Korean royal embassies, known as tsushinshi, during the Edo Period (1603-1867).
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