December 18, 2019 / 9:51 AM / a month ago

Japan Suga: Japan, South Korea ties will return to health if Seoul keeps its promises

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga speaks at a news conference after the reshuffling of the Japanese cabinet at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan September 11, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s top government spokesman said on Wednesday that relations with South Korea were in a “severe situation in various areas” but would return to healthy ties if Seoul kept its promises.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that South Korea was an important neighbor.

He added that arrangements were being made for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of a trilateral summit including China next week.

Relations between the two countries cooled after a South Korean court ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to Koreans forced to work in their mines and factories during World War Two. Tokyo says the issue was settle by a 1965 treaty.

The feud spilled over into trade and security but has shown some signs of easing.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Linda Sieg; Editing by Alison Williams

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