Japan foreign minister meets new S Korean envoy as relations thaw

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi met Tuesday with new South Korean Ambassador to Japan Yun Duk Min for the first time, signaling Tokyo's willingness to improve ties with Seoul that have frayed over wartime and territorial issues.
The meeting with Yun, who arrived in Japan last month following President Yoon Suk Yeol's inauguration in May, contrasts with Japan's dealings with Yun's predecessor who did not meet with Japan's foreign minister until almost the end of his 18-month posting.
"We met to make sure that we will work hard alongside each other for a better relationship," Yun said after the meeting at the Foreign Ministry.
Japan and South Korea are likely to accelerate efforts to solve issues including preventing the liquidation of Japanese corporate assets in South Korea that plaintiffs in wartime forced labor lawsuits have seized.
Hayashi also met with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin last month in Tokyo.
South Korea's Supreme Court is expected to possibly issue a ruling on the envisioned liquidation of assets seized from Nippon Steel Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd in August or September, but Tokyo warned there will be serious consequences for the bilateral relationship if the court rules to move forward.
Ties between the two nations deteriorated to their lowest level in decades under the previous administration of Moon Jae In, during which the top court ordered the two Japanese firms to compensate South Korean plaintiffs for their unpaid labor during Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

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