Tokyo Gov. Masuzoe hopes to help mend Japan-South Korea ties

Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe told Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon on Wednesday that he hopes to promote dialogue and cooperation with the South Korean capital to help improve their countries' ties, soured over territorial and historical disputes.

"We would like to build on today's first official dialogue with Seoul in 18 years to create cooperative relations," Masuzoe said at a meeting with Park in Seoul. "I'm confident this will help improve Japan-South Korea relations."

The Seoul mayor, for his part, offered to help Tokyo in its hosting of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

"As South Korea is set to host the (2018) Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, I have great expectations of bilateral exchanges," he said.

Masuzoe and Park later signed an agreement to promote close Tokyo-Seoul exchanges and cooperation in such areas as urban safety and the Olympics.

Earlier in the day, Masuzoe laid a bouquet at an altar for victims of the April 16 South Korean ferry sinking that left more than 300 people dead or missing.