The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan discussed the rulings by Seoul's top court ordering Japanese companies to compensate Korean victims of Tokyo's forced wartime labor.
In a meeting on Thursday held on the sidelines of an international conference in Paris, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed discontent over a Seoul official's remarks criticizing Japanese firms' inaction in compensating the victims.
Kono took issue with remarks by Kim In-chul, spokesperson of Seoul's Foreign Ministry, who said there would be "no problems" if the Japanese firms in question comply with court orders to remunerate the victims.
The Japanese minister said the remarks were a very serious statement that does not understand the gravity of the matter, urging Seoul to share the understanding that such remarks will make bilateral relations difficult.
After the meeting, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told reporters that she called for caution and discreetness in communicating messages.
Kang affirmed that Japan called for forming an arbitration panel over the issue, adding that the Seoul government would review the matter carefully.
The Foreign Ministry in Seoul said that Kang also stressed during the meeting that Japan needs to help heal the pain and suffering of the victims of forced wartime labor.