Japan's new top diplomat said Thursday the agreement with South Korea on settling the bilateral row over wartime sex slaves should be respected, according to a local news outlet.
Foreign Minister Taro Kono was quoted as saying by Kyodo news service that the "comfort women" deal should be steadily implemented.
His reported comments, made shortly after he was appointed to the post, herald continued diplomatic standoffs between the neighboring countries.
As many as 200,000 Asian women, mostly Koreans, were forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II.
Korea has long demanded Japan's formal apology and reparations.
Under the previous administration of ousted president Park Geun-hye, Seoul agreed to resolve the issue.
But the current Moon Jae-in government takes a dim view of the accord, saying South Korean people do not accept it yet "emotionally." (Yonhap)