Senior officials from Korea and Japan met in Seoul Wednesday as they seek to resolve the long-standing dispute over Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women.
The rare meeting is the result of an agreement reached ahead of President Park Geun-hye's first official talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Netherlands last month.
Korea is expected to reiterate its demand for an official apology and legal compensation from Japan for the so-called "comfort women."
Tokyo claims the issue was settled through a 1965 treaty signed by the two neighbors when they normalized diplomatic ties.
But a report by Kyodo News Agency Wednesday on a meeting between Japanese and Korean officials in Tokyo in February suggests a shift in Japan's attitude.
At the meeting, Japan reportedly said it wants to resolve the comfort women issue before next year, which is the 50th anniversary of the two countries' normalizing their diplomatic ties.
The report also said the Japanese government is reviewing various humanitarian measures, including providing government support funds for the victims and an official apology by the Japanese ambassador to Korea.
Tokyo is reportedly even mulling the possibility of issuing a letter to the comfort women under the prime minister's name.
Around 200-thousand women, mostly Korean, were forced to serve the Japanese army in comfort stations during the early 20th century.
But most agree that just one round of talks will not be enough for the two neighbors to overcome seven decades of diplomatic tensions.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.