Japan, S.Korea senior diplomats meet in Tokyo

Senior foreign ministry officials of Japan and South Korea are meeting in Tokyo to discuss a range of bilateral issues.

The head of Japan's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Funakoshi Takehiro, and South Korea's director general for Asian and Pacific affairs, Lee Sang-ryol, began their talks at Japan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

Lee only said "No comment" when an NHK reporter asked him what kind of discussions he would like to hold with his Japanese counterpart.

These are the first bureau-chief-level talks to be held in person in about five months.

Funakoshi and Lee are expected to discuss outstanding issues, including wartime labor and those referred to as wartime comfort women.

In January, a South Korean court ordered the Japanese government to pay damages to the plaintiffs who were comfort women.

The Japanese government has called the ruling unacceptable, saying it clearly runs contrary to international law. Japan has been urging South Korea to take appropriate measures on the matter.

A South Korean ruling on another lawsuit demanding damages for comfort women is expected on April 21. South Korea's response to the issue will be a focus of Thursday's talks.