Separating a war-related issue from an event for world peace, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated that he will attend the Feb. 9 Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

“If the circumstances permit, I would like to attend the Opening Ceremony,” Abe told reporters on Jan. 24.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in had indicated from last year his intention to invite Abe to the Pyeongchang Olympics, and Japanese officials were keen on the idea of having the prime minister visit South Korea.

But that all changed when the Moon administration on Jan. 9 announced its new position regarding “comfort women” that effectively negated a December 2015 agreement between Japan and South Korea.

The agreement was supposed to have been a “final, irreversible resolution” of issues related to former comfort women, who were forced to provide sex to Japanese military personnel before and during World War II.

However, a panel set up by the South Korean foreign minister criticized the process that led to the agreement, and Seoul asked that Tokyo voluntarily consider taking new measures, such as offering a sincere apology to the former comfort women.

After that announcement, officials in the prime minister’s office fiercely opposed having Abe take part in the Opening Ceremony. Abe himself rejected the idea of Japan taking additional measures.

However, he apparently decided against escalating the row by snubbing the Winter Games.

Instead, Abe told reporters that he would seek a meeting with Moon to directly explain Japan’s position of not implementing any additional measures above and beyond the 2015 bilateral agreement.

Others also pointed out that Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics two years from now.

“It will be a festival for peace held in a neighboring nation, so I believe it would be preferable if (Abe) attended while separating out the comfort women issue,” Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said about the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Abe also mentioned the Tokyo Summer Games.

“The Tokyo Olympics will be held in 2020,” Abe said. “I want to encourage our athletes by attending the Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics, which will also be held in Asia.”

The prime minister said he also wants to discuss issues related to North Korea during his meeting with Moon.

“I want to convey the necessity of cooperation between Japan, South Korea and the United States in responding to the North Korean threat as well as the need to maintain the pressure that has been heightened to the maximum level,” he said.

Some Japanese officials have raised concerns that South Korea might be adopting a softer approach toward its neighbor to the north. Under a recently reached agreement, North Korean athletes and others from the country are expected to take part in the Pyeongchang Olympics.