Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday called President Park Geun-hye to congratulate her on her inauguration. The leaders of the two estranged countries spoke for about 10 minutes.
Presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing quoted Park as expressing hope that political leaders work actively and decisively to build future-oriented relationship so that historical issues that hamper bilateral relations would not be passed on to the next generation.
Abe called for the two countries to further develop their relations based on the "candid exchanges of opinions" of their leaders.
Korea-Japan ties are increasingly strained due to resurgent nationalism in Japan and Tokyo's flimsy colonial claim to Korea's Dokdo islets.
But the two leaders passed over these and other sensitive issues like Japan's continuing denial of responsibility for rounding up sex slaves for Japanese troops in World War II.
They agreed to "continue to work closely on North Korea policies such as denuclearization," according to Kim.
Abe said that he looks forward to meeting Park during the Korea-Japan-China summit in Seoul, and invited her to Japan.