TOKYO — The Japanese foreign ministry’s top bureaucrat and the South Korean ambassador to Japan have held their first meeting since taking office, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tuesday.
Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori and Kang Chang-il are thought to have discussed compensation for wartime workers and “comfort women” during their short meeting, which took place Monday. Both topics have been longstanding sources of friction between the East Asian economies.
Mori took office in June, while Kang assumed his post in January. But they had not met until now as relations between Tokyo and South Korea remain strained.
Historical grievances between the two countries flared up in September, when a South Korean court ordered assets seized from Japanese industrial group Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to be sold as compensation for women forced to work for the company during World War II.