Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is scheduled to visit South Korea for two days from Sunday, the two governments said, with the Asian neighbors accelerating efforts to improve ties in the face of challenges including the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

On the first day of his arrival, Kishida, who will host the three-day Group of Seven summit from May 19 in Hiroshima, is set to meet with President Yoon Suk Yeol, the governments said Tuesday, less than two months after they held talks in Tokyo in March.

"It will be a good opportunity to frankly exchange opinions on ways to develop Japan-South Korea relations and the rapidly changing international situation," Kishida, who is making a weeklong trip to Africa, told reporters in Ghana on Monday.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to reporters in Accra, the capital of Ghana, on May 1, 2023, during a trip to Africa. (Kyodo)

The planned visit would be Kishida's first trip to South Korea since taking office in October 2021.

Japan-South Korea ties had plunged to their lowest point in decades under the left-wing government of Yoon's predecessor, Moon Jae In, amid a dispute over wartime labor compensation.

But they have been improving under the conservative government of Yoon, who took office in May 2022, with Seoul proposing a solution to the issue in early March. The president visited Japan later in that month for talks with Kishida.

During their meeting in Tokyo, Kishida and Yoon agreed to restart reciprocal visits by Japanese and South Korean leaders, which had been suspended since 2011.

The last visit to South Korea by a Japanese premier was in February 2018, when then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Tokyo and Seoul have long been at odds over issues related to Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

Kishida, who has been seeking to lay the groundwork for the success of the G-7 summit in Hiroshima, his home constituency, has invited Yoon to the western city to attend the meeting as a guest.

In Washington, a senior U.S. official said Monday that President Joe Biden is expected to hold a trilateral meeting with Kishida and Yoon in Hiroshima on the sidelines of the G-7 summit. Japan and South Korea are close U.S. security allies in Asia.

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