The Japanese government has asked officials in Seoul to form an arbitration committee to help settle the matter.
The announcement comes in the wake of a series of decisions by South Korea's Supreme Court.
It ordered Japanese firms to pay compensation to people who say they were forced to work for the companies during World War Two.
Some of the plaintiffs have taken steps to sell off company assets that were seized as a result of the rulings.
The Japanese government maintains the issue of the right to claim compensation was settled completely and finally under a 1965 agreement.
Officials in Seoul have yet to comment on Tokyo's request.