Yoon Suk-yeol’s inauguration as South Korea’s president on Tuesday heralds a tectonic shift in politics in Seoul and a great opportunity for Japan.

The Japanese government is cautiously optimistic about prospects for the bilateral relationship, although wariness seems to outweigh hope. That stance is understandable but the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida must not be too slow: It should — with its own gestures — encourage Yoon to move forward with his pledge of partnership.

Signs are encouraging. Throughout the presidential campaign, Yoon criticized sitting President Moon Jae-in for letting Japan-South Korea relations deteriorate and said that he would make their repair a priority. He identified the 1998 Kim Dae-jung-Keizo Obuchi Joint Statement as the model for his administration. Like them, he seeks a “future-oriented” approach that focuses on opportunities ahead, rather than the historical controversies that have dogged bilateral relations.