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S. Korea has never sounded out Japan about sending masks: ministry

(AP-Yonhap)
(AP-Yonhap)

The foreign ministry denied a news report Monday that South Korea has expressed a willingness to provide Japan with face masks to help the neighboring country cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

A local newspaper reported earlier in the day that the government suggested the idea to some senior officials of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party through an unofficial channel, and Tokyo has not responded to the offer yet.

"We, at the government level, have not sounded out the Japanese government about mask assistance," the foreign ministry said in a text message to the press.

"Though overseas shipments of face masks are currently restricted, we will actively consider the outbound shipment of COVID-19 quarantine products, including masks, when the domestic circumstances allow room for it," it added.

The ministry also said the South Korean Embassy in Japan held a meeting with representatives of Korean communities there to try to determine the mask demand from Korean residents in Japan.

Japan has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus infections, with the total tally topping 13,440.

On Sunday, Asahi Shimbun carried a similar report, saying that the Moon Jae-in government is considering sending test kits and face masks to Tokyo, if there is a request from Tokyo, citing unnamed government sources in Seoul. (Yonhap)

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