The new Japanese Ambassador to South Korea, Koji Tomita, has expressed his determination to work hard to bridge differences between the two countries.
Tomita arrived at Seoul's Gimpo Airport on Tuesday. He spoke to reporters from more than 20 Japanese and South Korean media outlets.
He said he asked leaders from various fields in Japan for their opinions, and that the consensus was that the rift with South Korea, an important neighbor, should not be left unresolved. He added that he has heard reports that the South Korean side feels the same way.
Bilateral ties have deteriorated over trade and wartime labor issues.
The ambassador said he wants to play a bridge-building role by presenting Japan's position and by listening to South Koreans.
He said that, as an ambassador, he believes he has to look one or two decades ahead and promote various exchanges to maintain and develop mutual understanding.
He expressed a desire to expand economic and cultural exchanges, and to make progress in all other areas.
Tomita has built up his diplomatic career since he entered the foreign ministry in 1981. He worked at the Japanese embassy in Seoul. He is the former head of the foreign ministry's North American Affairs Bureau.
He was in charge of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka in June.