Weeks after North Korea showed interest and said it will re-investigate the issue of abducted Japanese nationals decades ago, Japan is pushing for another meeting between their foreign ministers in the sidelines of a regional conference in August to re-open the matter. At the moment, there are no official diplomatic relations between Japan and the hermit country, but both nations are connected through historical issues and Tokyo’s claims of the North abducting Japanese citizens.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and North Korean equivalent Ri Su Yong are anticipated to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to be held in Myanmar on the third quarter of this year. As it’s the only conference where the two people are likely to meet, Japan hopes to take advantage of the situation and maximize the opportunity. Should Ri attend the conference, Kishida is tasked to urge North Korea to come up with concrete measures in the call for them to stop the development of nuclear weapons. The call is in line with a resolution imposed to North Korea by the U.N. Security Council. Apart from that, Kishida is also expected to bring up the issue of kidnapped Japanese nationals, a matter which has died down in the recent weeks after North Korea has said it will consider looking into it again.
Japan, seeking to normalize relations with North Korea, has often brought up the issue of the abductions as a huge block in achieving that. The communist state has admitted to capturing 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 80s. It has since maintained that eight of the abducted has already passed away. Japan’s then-Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi met with then-counterpart Paek Nam Sun and has arranged for the meeting of an abducted Japanese, Hitomi Soga with the family she left in North Korea after she was repatriated in 2004. Both officials are expected to attend the ARF, which Kishida hopes will be helpful in his talks with Ri.
[via The Japan Times]