Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) on Jan. 7 agreed to make efforts to resume stalled negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries, Kyodo news agency said.

During a meeting held in Seoul , Japan ’s state minister in charge of national policy Koichiro Gemba, told RoK Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Kim Sung Hwan that Prime Minister Naoto Kan intends to discuss the reopening of FTA negotiations during President Lee Myung Bak’s upcoming visit to Japan .

The RoK side accepted the offer, saying Seoul has no objection to the signing of the pact, however, he said the two countries need to settle problems such as historical issues between the two nations and the granting of the right to vote in local elections to permanent foreign residents of Japan, many of whom are of RoK nationality.

FTA talks between Japan and the RoK have been in limbo since 2004, due partly to disagreements over the opening of Japan 's agricultural market./.