Improving Korea-Japan Relations Civilian Diplomat Lee Jae-yong… Japan Gay Danren Chairman’s Meeting

Jaeyong Lee, Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics [사진=연합뉴스]

Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong met with the chairman of the Japanese business group ‘Geidanren’ one after another to promote exchanges between Korean and Japanese companies.

According to Samsung Electronics on the 5th, Vice Chairman Lee had a dinner meeting with Keidanren Tokura, chairman of Masakazu Tokura, who visited Korea to attend the Korea-Japan business meeting the day before. Vice Chairman Lee and Chairman Tokura are reported to have discussed ways to promote exchanges between Korean and Japanese companies and to cooperate to stabilize the supply chain.

Chairman Tokura also has a long-standing relationship with Samsung as Chairman of Sumitomo Chemical. Sumitomo Chemical, which has been closely related since the past Chairman Lee Kun-hee, established a joint venture ‘SSLM (Samsung Sumitomo LED Materials)’ with Samsung Electronics in 2011.

Sumitomo Chemical is supplying polarizing films for OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) smartphones to Samsung Electronics. Sumitomo Film has also been applied to Samsung Electronics products such as the ‘Galaxy Fold’. There is speculation that cooperation between the two companies will be revived once export restrictions are eased.

Vice Chairman Lee continued his stride on this day as well. During a luncheon with Keidanren Higashiwara Toshiaki, Vice Chairman and Chairman of Hitachi Group, the two companies discussed ways to cooperate in the semiconductor field. Hitachi is Japan’s largest electronics manufacturer, and Samsung Electronics supplies semiconductors.

The meeting between Sumitomo Tokura, Chairman of Chemicals and Hitachi Group Chairman Higashiwara, and Samsung, which was selected as the target of Japan’s material and parts export restrictions in 2019, is an evaluation that it is very meaningful. As meetings with major companies using Vice Chairman Lee’s network continue, some observers say that this meeting will serve as an opportunity to build a new Korea-Japan cooperative relationship at the private level.

Previously, Vice Chairman Lee was the only Korean entrepreneur to be invited by the Japanese business community to attend the opening ceremony and opening game of the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup in September 2019, when Korea-Japan relations were at their worst due to Japan’s export restrictions.

Vice Chairman Lee is also known to be close with SoftBank Chairman Son Jeong-eui. When Chairman Son visited Korea in 2013, 2014, and 2019, he met Vice Chairman Lee and discussed ways to cooperate.

It is known that Vice Chairman Lee visits major Japanese customers every spring to hold a New Year’s greetings meeting and regularly interacts with leading Japanese parts and materials companies.

In particular, it is reported that the late Chairman Lee Kun-hee declared a new business in 1993 and continued to interact with members of ‘LJF’ (Lee Kunhee Japanese Friends), a cooperative organization with key Japanese electronic component companies.

Masakazu Tokura (left), Keidanren Chairman and Sumitomo Chemical Chairman, and Higashiwara Toshiaki Keidanren Vice Chairman and Hitachi Group Chairman [사진=삼성전자]

Masakazu Tokura (left), Keidanren Chairman and Sumitomo Chemical Chairman, and Higashiwara Toshiaki Keidanren Vice Chairman and Hitachi Group Chairman [사진=삼성전자]

An official from the business community said, “There is no one in the business world that is not aware of Vice Chairman Lee’s broad Japanese network.” there,” he said.

Founded in 1946, Keidanren is the country’s largest economic organization, with 1,494 Japanese companies joining. It is composed of 108 organizations in major industries such as manufacturing and service industries and 47 local economic organizations. Keidanren exerts a powerful influence, not only reconciling differences between member companies, but also providing advice on the Japanese government’s economic policy.

Reporter Kang Kyung-joo, Hankyung.com qurasoha@hankyung.com

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