New Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is hoping to hold phone talks with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori said — a move that would mark the first direct conversation between the neighbors' two sitting leaders in decades.

Mori, who was visiting Taiwan to attend a memorial service for former President Lee Teng-hui, told Tsai during a televised meeting at the Presidential Office in Taipei on Friday that Suga called him a day earlier to pass on his greetings to the president.

"If there is an opportunity, he would like to speak (with Tsai) over the phone,” Mori told Tsai on Friday, relaying Suga's message.