The leaders of Japan and South Korea have agreed to hold a meeting "as soon as possible," Kyodo News agency reported Thursday.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun had refused since last year to meet with former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi over his visits to a Tokyo war shrine.

But newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke with Roh on the phone and they agreed to hold a meeting, Kyodo reported, citing unidentified sources.