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For the last two years, the diplomatic relationship between Tokyo and Seoul has been only a notch or two above icy.
Comments and actions by Japanese politicians, particularly on the question of the two nations' shared history, have been met with broadsides of criticism from their Korean counterparts.
Tokyo has waged a high-profile campaign to convince third parties that South Korea is illegally occupying the Dok-Do islands, which appear on Japanese maps as Takeshima.
In the last half-century, rarely have the differences between the two nations appeared so deep and unbridgeable.
Patching differences But there are finally signs that Park Guen-hye and Shinzo Abe might at last be willing to patch up their differences.
Reports from both Seoul and Tokyo suggest that the two leaders are preparing to meet on the fringes of the Nuclear Security Summit, which is to be held in The Hague (main picture) over two days from March 24.
Also present will be US President Barack Obama, who has a vested interest in making sure these two allies of the United States get along more amicably.
"Abe wants it, Obama wants it and I'm sure that Park wants this meeting, but there is an element of risk," Robert Dujarric, director of the Tokyo-based Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at the Japan campus of Temple University, told DW.