Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide asked South Korean President Moon Jae-in to take steps to improve the strained relationship between the two countries in their first telephone conversation.
Suga and Moon spoke for about 20 minutes on Thursday at South Korea's request. The conversation began at 11 a.m.
During the discussion, Suga thanked Moon for congratulating him, after he assumed the post of prime minister. He asked Moon to work with him to tackle the coronavirus and other issues.
Suga noted that Japan and South Korea are important neighbors. He said the partnership between the two countries is vital. The prime minister added that the issue of North Korea is critical to both nations.
Relations between Japan and South Korea have cooled over issues, such as claims by some Koreans that they were forced to work for Japanese companies during World War Two.
Suga told Moon that relations between the countries cannot remain as they are.
Referring to the entry restrictions imposed by the two countries due to the new coronavirus, they agreed to accelerate talks on the resumption of travel by business people and others in the near future.
Prime Minister Suga told reporters later that he plans to maintain Japan's stances on various issues. He also insisted he will demand that South Korea take appropriate action.