TOKYO - South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se met his Japanese counterpart Sunday on his first visit to Tokyo since taking office, as the two countries mark 50 years of diplomatic relations despite current strains. Yun held talks with Fumio Kishida at a state guesthouse to discuss their bilateral ties and North Korea among other topics, Tokyo's foreign ministry said.

While details of their meeting have yet to be given, television footage showed the two shaking hands over the table at the opening session.

On Monday, Yun will attend a ceremony at the South Korean embassy to celebrate half a century since relations between Tokyo and Seoul were normalised.

Yun is also expected to pay a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday, according to media reports. Yun and Kishida held talks in March in Seoul, but Yun had not been to Japan since being appointed in 2013. Relations have been severely strained by rows over history and territory, and Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye are yet to hold a one-to-one summit since they came to power.

Park has said there can be no meeting until Japan makes amends for its wartime system of sex slavery, which saw as many as 200,000 mostly South Korean "comfort women" forced into servitude for Japan's Imperial military. According to the Nikkei newspaper, Japan, China and South Korea are separately considering holding a trilateral summit this autumn.

Tokyo and Seoul regard the planned trilateral meeting as an opportunity for Abe and Park to hold their first summit, and is expected to be discussed during Sunday's meeting, the paper said. Park said in a recent interview with the Washington Post that "there has been considerable progress on the issue of the comfort women" and the two countries are "in the final stage" of Tokyo-Seoul negotiations.

Japan maintains that the issue was settled in the 1965 normalisation agreement, which saw Tokyo make a total payment of $800 million in grants or loans to its former colony.

The Japanese government also issued a formal apology in 1993, which remains official policy.

Japan and South Korea are also at odds over ownership of the sparsely-populated Dokdo islets, which sit in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and are controlled by Seoul. Tokyo claims them under the name Takeshima.