South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said Monday he will visit Japan on October 27-29. "The decision on my trip to Tokyo was reached Monday morning," Ban told reporters during a luncheon meeting in downtown Seoul to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the United Nations.
"We have determined that a specific incident should not be an obstacle to mutual relations between South Korea and Japan," he was quoted by South Korean Yonhap News Agency as saying, referring to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's recent visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine.
"That's why I decided to go to Japan as scheduled. There are a lot of pending bilateral issues in the political, economic, social and cultural fields," Ban said.
Koisumi paid a homage to the shrine which honors 2 million Japanese war dead, including 14 convicted Class-A World War II criminals. It was his fifth visit there since he took office in April 2001.
Ban suggested several times last week canceling his planned visit to Tokyo as protest Koizumi's trip to the shrine, saying " Under the current situation, it is not appropriate for me to push to visit Japan."
The South Korean Foreign Ministry is planing to hold press briefing on the background of the decision later in the day, reports Xinhua. I.L.