Japan Foreign Minister Kishida says arranging visit to South Korea

Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who retained his post after a cabinet shuffle, arrives at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, October 7, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Friday he was arranging a visit to South Korea and hoped for an early resolution to a long-running dispute with Seoul over “comfort women”.

Kishida spoke at a news conference after media reports that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had instructed him to go to Seoul for ministerial talks as early as Monday to resolve the issue of “comfort women”, as women and girls who were forced to work in wartime Japanese military brothels are euphemistically known in Japan.

South Korea’s ties with Japan have long been strained by what Seoul sees as Japanese leaders’ reluctance to atone for the country’s brutal wartime past. However, ties have warmed since Abe met South Korean President Park Geun-hye last month.

Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Paul Tait