Matsuno: Japan to continue communications with South Korea

The Japanese government says it will continue to promote communication with South Korea as improving bilateral cooperation is now more important than ever.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu spoke to reporters on Thursday. Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in New York the previous day.

In their conversation, the two leaders confirmed the need to resolve pending issues, apparently with wartime labor and others in mind. They also agreed to mend and develop bilateral ties.

Matsuno said that in view of the current strategic environment, it has never been more important to advance cooperation between Japan and South Korea and trilateral cooperation with the United States.

He said that just as the leaders agreed, Japan will seek more communication with South Korea to restore healthy ties, based on Japan's consistent position.

Matsuno was asked about the different ways Japan and South Korea described the conversation between the leaders. South Korea called it a "summary meeting." Japan called it a "conversation" and did not use the word meaning "meeting."

Matsuno said there is no strict definition of the difference between a "meeting" and a "conversation."

But he said it is being described as a "conversation" because it was a brief contact held without setting an agenda on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

He said it is the government's understanding that there's no difference in meaning between what Japan calls a "conversation" and South Korea calls a "summary meeting."