Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a special envoy of new South Korean President Moon Jae In held talks Thursday in Tokyo on their countries' response to North Korea, which test-fired its latest ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan over the weekend, among other issues.
Moon Hee Sang, a heavyweight lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party, said at the outset of the meeting, which was open to the media, that the two countries "have in common a practical interest to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue."
The envoy handed over a personal letter from President Moon, saying the new South Korean leader hopes to meet with Abe in person soon.
Noting Tokyo and Seoul are each other's "most important neighbors, sharing strategic interests," Abe said, "I would like to build a future-oriented Japan-South Korean relationship with the new administration of President Moon Jae In."
The talks between Abe and the special envoy are also believed to have taken up the issue of Korean "comfort women" who were forced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels.
Tokyo and Seoul reached an agreement on comfort women in 2015, under which the two countries confirmed the longstanding dispute is "resolved finally and irreversibly."
In accordance with the terms of the deal, Tokyo disbursed 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) last year to a South Korean fund to provide support for former comfort women and their families.
President Moon, who took office last week, repeatedly vowed during his election campaign to renegotiate the agreement, which was reached under his predecessor's administration and drew criticism that it does not reflect the former comfort women's wishes.