Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol wrapped up a joint news conference after a summit in Tokyo. It was part of the first bilateral visit involving the two countries' leaders in more than a decade.
Kishida said, "President Yoon and I met for the talks and in a tough strategic environment, we have agreed to recognize the urgency of cooperative relations."
Yoon said, "We actually share universal values, including democracy and also in terms of security and economic alliance. We pursue the common interests we are the closest ally in this regard."
Both said they want to strengthen cooperation including on security issues.
They voiced concern over North Korea's accelerating nuclear and missile programs, and said they would work together to address it.
The leaders also said they want to return to regular visits between their two countries.
Japan's prime minister also hailed a South Korean proposal to settle an issue dating back to World War Two. A South Korean government-affiliated foundation is set to pay damages in place of Japanese companies that were accused of forcing Koreans to work for them.
The plan comes after years of strained relations between Japan and South Korea which were said to be at their lowest state since the end of the war.
The Japanese government says any right to claims was settled completely and finally in 1965, when Japan and South Korea normalized diplomatic relations.