South Korea hopes a high-level visit to Tokyo next week will kick-start talks aimed at a breakthrough in historical disputes despite concerns the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could disrupt efforts to mend ties, Seoul officials said.

Relations between the two U.S. allies have been strained over disputes dating to Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. Washington has been pressing Tokyo and Seoul to mend fences in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat and the rising influence of China.

Officials in the administration of new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May vowing to improve ties with Japan, said they feel emboldened by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's recent election victory, which could give him more scope to advance his policy agenda for another three years.