Oct. 14 (UPI) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent condolences to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe following a deadly typhoon that has caused flooding and landslides while leaving dozens of people dead.
Moon, who has yet to work out his political differences with Abe over issues ranging from compensation for Korean wartime laborers to Japanese trade restrictions targeting Korean tech firms, issued the statement Monday, South Korean news service EDaily reported.
The South Korean leader said in his message that he “prays the people of Japan recover their daily lives as soon as possible,” referring to the damage from Typhoon Hagibis, including the death of more than 50 people.
“I sincerely hope the government of Japan, and the Japanese people, work together to overcome the damages,” the South Korean president said.
South Korean presidential Blue House spokeswoman Ko Min-jung said the message was delivered to the Japanese government through diplomatic channels.
Moon’s message to Abe comes at a time when other politicians in Japan are downplaying the impact of the typhoon that has injured more than 200 people, according to NHK.
Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun reported Monday ruling Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai described the widespread damage from the typhoon was “tolerable” during an emergency meeting on Sunday.
“It [the damage] appears to be tolerable compared with the predictions, but there is still considerable damage over a wide area” of Japan, Nikai said.
The Japanese politician’s statement has brought strong criticism from rival politicians, according to NHK and Jiji Press.
Nikai later told reporters he meant the typhoon was tolerable compared to other disasters that could completely “overturn Japan.”
Among the people who have died include a 77-year-old woman who fell 40 meters during a helicopter rescue in Fukushima prefecture, according to the Tokyo Fire Department.
Bags of soil from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were also found in a river near the nuclear plant, CNN reported.