Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi attended Tuesday's inauguration ceremony of South Korea's new president, Yoon Suk-yeol.

The decision to send the nation's foreign minister, rather than its prime minister, was the right one because the choice seems to reflect the cautious optimism that Japan’s general public has held so far regarding South Korea.

The prevailing view in Japan goes something like this: Even if President Yoon wants to improve bilateral relations with Japan, the ball is not in Tokyo's court — words are important, but if they are not accompanied by actions, there is no way for Japan to take the initiative.