A South Korean trade ministry official says his delegation held "genuine discussions" with Japan during their preparatory trade talks this week in Austria.
Here's what he told reporters when he got back to Seoul today.
"I believe we held a genuine conversation with Japan in a friendly atmosphere preparing for the director-general level meeting."
Trade representatives from the two countries, including Lee, met in Vienna earlier this week to prepare for high-level talks on Japan's trade restrictions slated for December 16th in Tokyo.
Arriving at Incheon International Airport, Lee told reporters that the two sides agreed on the need to try and resolve bilateral issues appropriately, including the trade conflict.
He said the upcoming talks will go into the details, emphasizing that Korea will explain how there are no flaws in Korea's export control system.
Regarding when Japan will put Korea back on its whitelist of trading partners, Lee said it's hard to tell before negotiations begin.