Leaders of Japan's Korean community welcomed the election of Moon Jae-in as South Korea's next president, saying the victory offers a chance to rebalance and reform Japan's often contentious relationship with its Asian neighbor.

But they noted a host of thorny problems related to Japan's wartime history in Korea, such as the issue of Korean "comfort women," remain, meaning it could be a while before solid progress becomes visible.

"Moon has emphasized the importance of dialogue with Japan, and we hope he will re-establish it," said Kwak Jin Woong, director of the Osaka-based Korea NGO Center. "But there are still lots of outstanding problems between Japan and South Korea that will take time to be resolved."