Japan, S. Korea agree on need of keep dialogue over ties

Japan and South Korea agreed Thursday it is necessary to continued dialogue "at various levels" over bilateral ties, which have been soured due to disputes over territory and perception in wartime history, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said.

Kishida told reporters after a meeting with South Korean counterpart Yun Byung Se that they discussed disputes over territory and perception in wartime history as well as issues related to North Korea such as its past abductions of Japanese.

Kishida said the two countries have yet to decide anything about staging what would be the first meeting of their leaders Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Park Geun Hye.

Abe and Park plan to attend a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Indonesia and the East Asia Summit in Brunei, both planned for next month. But there is no prospect that they will meet bilaterally on the sidelines of the events.

Kishida said he asked Yun to reconsider Seoul's recent decision to tighten its regulation on imports of Japanese fishery products in the wake of the latest discovery of a massive leakage of radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Japan has said the South Korean measure lacks scientific grounds.

Kishida did not provide details of what he discussed with Yun concerning North Korea.

A senior Japanese government official said earlier the foreign ministers were likely to reaffirm their commitment during their talks Thursday to working closely with the United States in urging Pyongyang to fulfill a promise to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

The meeting took place after recent satellite imagery released by a U.S. institute apparently indicated that North Korea reactivated its nuclear facility in the Yongbyon area, which could produce weapons-grade plutonium, and conducted a burning test on ballistic missile fuel.

North Korea committed to abandoning all nuclear programs in a 2005 agreement of the China-hosted six-nation talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Russia is the sixth member of the framework.

Japan and South Korea have been at odds over their differing perception of history related to Japan's colonial rule of the peninsula from 1910 to 1945, including the issue of Korean women who were forced into sexual servitude under the former Japanese military.

The two countries also have disputes over sovereignty of the South Korea-controlled group of islets in the Sea of Japan, called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.