World

South Korean and Japanese leaders attend events that may mark easing of frayed ties

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of normalizing relations between Japan and South Korea, hosted by South Korean Embassy in Tokyo Monday, June 22, 2015. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se attended the ceremony. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool Photo via AP)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of normalizing relations between Japan and South Korea, hosted by South Korean Embassy in Tokyo Monday, June 22, 2015. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se attended the ceremony. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Korean protesters stage a rally to demand to break up diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan in front of Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, June 22, 2015. Leaders of South Korea and Japan are attending ceremonies in their respective capitals Monday to mark the 50th anniversary since their countries normalized relations marred by Japan's colonization and World War II conquest. The letters on a banner read: "We oppose Abe's government! Break up diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan!" (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

    South Korean protesters stage a rally to demand to break up diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan in front of Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, June 22, 2015. Leaders of South Korea and Japan are attending ceremonies in their respective capitals Monday to mark the 50th anniversary since their countries normalized relations marred by Japan's colonization and World War II conquest. The letters on a banner read: "We oppose Abe's government! Break up diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan!" (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)  (The Associated Press)

  • South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se delivers a speech at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of normalizing relations between Japan and South Korea, hosted by South Korean Embassy in Tokyo Monday, June 22, 2015. The two countries' leaders attended Monday's ceremonies in their respective capitals, instead of just exchanging written statements as once anticipated. Yun's visit was the first by a South Korean foreign minister since 2011. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool Photo via AP)

    South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se delivers a speech at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of normalizing relations between Japan and South Korea, hosted by South Korean Embassy in Tokyo Monday, June 22, 2015. The two countries' leaders attended Monday's ceremonies in their respective capitals, instead of just exchanging written statements as once anticipated. Yun's visit was the first by a South Korean foreign minister since 2011. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The leaders of South Korea and Japan are attending ceremonies in their respective capitals marking the 50th anniversary of their countries' resumption of normal ties after World War II.

The visits Monday by South Korean President Park Geun-hye to a Japan-organized event in Seoul and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to a South Korea-organized event in Tokyo are small, largely symbolic steps. But they could signal an easing of strained ties between the important U.S. allies.

Many in Seoul are uncomfortable with what's seen as Tokyo's push to whitewash its brutal colonization of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

Since taking office in early 2013, Park has not held official one-on-one talks with Abe, although President Barack Obama brought them together for a three-way meeting last year.