Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung-se, affirmed in Laos on Monday their intention to implement the landmark bilateral settlement on the "comfort women" forced into Japan's military brothels during the war by setting up a foundation this week designed to help the surviving victims.

The ministers, who are in the Laotian capital of Vientiane for a series of regional meetings, also confirmed plans for bilateral cooperation and close coordination with the United States in dealing with North Korea as they stay on alert for a fifth nuclear test or further ballistic missile launches by Pyongyang, a Japanese official said.

In a major turnaround in bilateral ties, the two ministers signed a deal in late December under which Japan pledged to deposit ¥1 billion ($9.5 million) into a new South Korean foundation dedicated to helping the surviving comfort women, Japan's euphemism for the former sex slaves. Sources close to the matter said earlier it is set to be established this week, though not all of the women support the pact.