Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi says it is important that South Korea quickly correct a breach of international law over the wartime labor issue.
Motegi was speaking to reporters after his first meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in New York on Thursday.
Last year, South Korea's supreme court ordered Japanese firms to pay compensation to South Koreans who say they were forced to work for the firms during World War Two.
Motegi said the foundation of friendly relations between Japan and South Korea has been upended by the court's ruling.
South Korean plaintiffs have begun court procedures to sell assets seized from Japanese firms. Motegi said the matter will become more serious if the assets are sold.
Kang told the South Korean media that the two agreed on the importance of continuing frank diplomatic discussions and of working toward future-oriented relations.
Kang said the ministers also agreed on the importance of cooperation on North Korean issues, including the country's nuclear program. But she said that both ministers had merely reiterated their countries' positions, indicating that little progress was made on unresolved bilateral issues.