South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol plans to nominate Yun Duk-min, a former head of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy who is known for his knowledge of Japan, as the next ambassador to the country, according to a source close to the matter.
The 62-year-old obtained a doctoral degree at Tokyo's Keio University and is proficient in Japanese. He is also an expert on diplomatic and security affairs, including North Korea.
Yoon, a conservative, is expected to take office on Tuesday. He has expressed willingness to improve ties with Japan, which have soured under the current progressive government over issues stemming from Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
Yun has been an adviser to diplomatic affairs since joining Yoon's presidential campaign. He visited Japan in late April as part of a delegation sent by the president-elect and held talks with Japanese leaders, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Park Cheol-hee, a professor at Seoul National University's Graduate School of International Studies, was also cited as a possible nominee for ambassadorship. He was part of the Yoon delegation to Japan, which was fluent in Japanese.
In February, Yun said that Yoon has a strong conviction that South Korea-Japan relations should be improved. He said that as China emerges and makes assertive moves, regional stability and equilibrium can only be achieved through the normalization of bilateral ties.
A source on Yoon's transition team praised Yun as a good choice as ambassador to Japan because he handled diplomatic and security policy coordination in the Yoon camp, as well as having a deep understanding of Japan.
Yoon is said to have settled in the place of the next ambassador to the United States, Cho Tae-yong, a member of the National Assembly who served as the first vice foreign minister under the previous conservative government led by President Park Geun-hye.