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New South Korean Ambassador to Japan Kang Chang-il pledged Sunday to make every effort to improve relations between Tokyo and Seoul.

Noting that relations between the two countries are in the worst state since the 1965 diplomatic normalization, Kang said in an online meeting with Japanese media, “I will make efforts with a sense of responsibility on a mission to create future-oriented relations for coexistence and coprosperity.”

No signs of improvement are in sight for Japan-South Korea ties, which have deteriorate sharply over the issues of wartime labor and so-called comfort women — women who suffered under Japan’s military brothel system before and during World War II.

Kang, 68, will start his duties on Friday as the third ambassador to Japan under the government of South Korean President Moo Jae-in.

In a meeting with Kang on Thursday, Moon expressed hope that the new ambassador will play a role in developing bilateral ties further.

According to Kang, Moon said the two governments should prepare solutions to the pending problems through dialogue. The president was also quoted as saying that the two countries should cooperate where possible, including on the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Kang, who is from South Korea’s Jeju Island, earned a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo after graduating from Seoul National University.

His father worked in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, as a member of the Imperial Japanese Navy during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. His parents also once lived in the city of Kobe. “I went there 30 years ago and I want to pay a visit again,” Kang said.

Kang won a seat on South Korea’s National Assembly for the first time in the 2004 election, running on the ticket of what is now the ruling Democratic Party. He was elected three more times and retired from the assembly following the expiration of his fourth term in May last year.

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