Consider that China is the more direct and volatile wedge between the two nations and that better ties would help them stave off or stop China’s advances:
Exports to Japan dropped 70 percent since the far-right Abe administration came into office, led by exclusively Korean products like makgeolli or traditional rice wine, which dropped 74 percent, soju, noodles and cosmetics.
Although the main reason is the weak yen, the Korea International Trade Association says improving bilateral ties despite Tokyo’s lurch to the far right could help improve exports.
KITA’s Tokyo office polled 300 Korean companies about their difficulties, and icy bilateral ties were cited as a major reason by 28 percent in 2014 and by 30 percent this year.
In a similar poll in 2013, they did not feature on the radar at all.
In a straw poll of 266 Japanese customers, 47 percent said chilly relations between the two governments led to a decline in trade with Korean businesses. Some 64.4 percent of them said they would increase trade with Korean companies if bilateral relations improved, while only 14.4 percent said they did not.