South Korea's president-elect has met with an envoy of Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a bid to start a process to mend bitter disputes.
President-elect Park Geun-hye met Friday in the South Korean capital of Seoul with former Japanese finance minister Fukushiro Nukaga.
Ms. Park said she hopes that as new governments take office in both countries, they could make efforts to build confidence and a close friendship.
Nukaga brought a letter from Mr. Abe, who spoke of South Korea as Japan's most important neighbor and pledged his commitment to improving ties.
Relations between the two countries have regularly been strained by memories of Japan's brutal colonial rule of the Korean peninsula, territorial disputes and other issues.
The territorial dispute deteriorated last year following a surprise visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the disputed Dokdo islands, known in Japan as Takeshima.