Photo/IllutrationJapanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, enter a room of the government's Iikura Guest House in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on Dec. 19. (Pool)

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, failed to rebuild bridges on the comfort women issue during a meeting in Tokyo on Dec. 19.

The pair got nowhere in trying to iron out differences of opinion regarding the agreement reached between the two countries in 2015 to resolve the issue permanently.

They also demonstrated differing stances on how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programs.

It was Kang's first visit to Japan since becoming foreign minister in June 2017.

South Korea is eager to invite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to improve bilateral relations. However, Japan's distrust of South Korea is strong with many ongoing problems unresolved.

In 2015, Japan reached an agreement with the previous South Korean government on the comfort women issue as a final and irreversible resolution. In July 2017, however, the new South Korean government set up a team of experts to check the agreement under the direct supervision of the foreign minister.

According to South Korean government officials, that evaluation continues and it is inevitable that the results will include negative points.

Kang explained to Kono about the contents of the work and said that the results will be announced on Dec. 27.

Kang’s visit was aimed to soften Japan’s reaction to this work.