New South Korean Ambassador to Japan Kang Chang-il, who departed for Tokyo on Friday, said he will deliver the Moon Jae-in administration's will to normalize relations with Japan.
Speaking to reporters, Kang referred to the president expressing this during his New Year's press conference this week, vowing to take a step-by-step approach toward resolving thorny issues between the two sides.
Seoul-Tokyo relations were aggravated by South Korean top court rulings in 2018 that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean wartime forced labor victims, which was further exacerbated by Tokyo's retaliatory export curbs.
In the latest development, a Seoul court ordered Japan to compensate Korean victims of the Japanese military's sexual enslavement during World War Two.
A Japanese media outlet reported this week that Tokyo is considering deferring Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi's meetings with Kang, in response to the compensation ruling.