Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reportedly plans to skip a leaders' meeting with South Korea and China this year.
Suga says he won't go unless "proper measures" are taken in a dispute with Seoul over issues related to wartime forced labor compensation.
Yoon Jung-min reports.
Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported Monday that a trilateral summit between Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo is not likely to be held this year due to Japan's dispute with South Korea over compensation for the Koreans subjected to wartime forced labor.
The annual summit this year, if it happens, is supposed to be held in Seoul.
Citing diplomatic sources, the report said that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will not be attending if there's no progress in solving the dispute.
Japan, it said, notified South Korea of that last month.
When asked by reporters, Seoul's foreign ministry said it cannot confirm anything about the matter but is working to arrange the summit.
"Currently, the South Korean government is making efforts to hold the South Korea-China-Japan summit within the year. To do that, we are working with the relevant countries."
Though his meeting with South Korea's President Moon now seems to be in doubt, Prime Minister Suga has said before that he is willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un without any preconditions to solve the issue of the Japanese citizens abducted by the regime decades ago.
So despite the recent change in Japan's leadership, Seoul-Tokyo ties show little signs of improving when it comes to historical issues.
"On historical issues, including the so-called comfort women and forced labor, I'm afraid it's hard to expect a progress because Suga maintains almost the same stance as his predecessor, Abe."
Japan has warned of retaliation if South Korea liquidates the local assets of the Japanese company Nippon Steel to compensate the Korean victims of forced labor in line with a ruling by South Korea's Supreme Court in 2018.
There's also been friction recently over a statue set up in Germany to memorialize Korean women and girls who were sexually enslaved by Japan during wartime.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.