World

Neighbors but not friends: Japan, South Korea ministers meet ahead of 50th anniversary of ties

  • South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, left, talks with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida before their meeting at the foreign ministry's Iikura guest house in Tokyo Sunday, June 21, 2015. (Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP)

    South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, left, talks with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida before their meeting at the foreign ministry's Iikura guest house in Tokyo Sunday, June 21, 2015. (Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, left, shakes hands with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida before their meeting at the foreign ministry's Iikura guest house in Tokyo Sunday, June 21, 2015. (Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP)

    South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, left, shakes hands with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida before their meeting at the foreign ministry's Iikura guest house in Tokyo Sunday, June 21, 2015. (Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, left, shakes hands with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the foreign ministry's Iikura guest house in Tokyo Sunday, June 21, 2015.  (Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP)

    South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, left, shakes hands with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida at the foreign ministry's Iikura guest house in Tokyo Sunday, June 21, 2015. (Issei Kato/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Foreign ministers from Japan and South Korea are due to hold a rare meeting on the eve of the 50th anniversary since their countries normalized relations marred by Japan's colonization and World War II conquest.

Yet, the ties between the most important U.S. allies in Asia are so low that one hoped-for outcome of the meeting is an agreement for the countries' leaders to just show up at Monday's ceremonies in their respective capitals, instead of exchanging written statements.

According to a poll by Japanese newspaper Asahi and South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo, more than half of the respondents in both countries say their image of the other side has worsened in the past five years.

On Sunday, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is scheduled to meet his Japanese counterpart.