On Thursday and Friday of this week, a rare meeting between the Red Cross of Japan and its counterpart in North Korea will be held in Beijing, in order for the two nations to discuss returning the remains of Japanese soldiers who died in the isolated nation during World War II. Three officials from each country’s Red Cross will meet and try to reach an agreement that will allow the relatives of deceased Japanese to visit grave sites and collect remains. Analysts believe any acceptance on North Korea’s part would part of new leader Kim Jong-Un’s desire to execute military and economic reforms.
The Japanese Red Cross Society released a statement saying that were many Japanese soldiers who died in North Korea both during and after World War II, and they look forward to reaching a conclusion that will see any unearthed remains return home. The KCNA, North Korea’s national news agency, has also confirmed the meeting between the Red Cross Societies. It will be the first meeting since 2002 between the two countries’ organizations.
A spokeswoman for the Japanese Red Cross said that ten years ago they met to discuss what had happened to the numerous Japanese citizens who had been kidnapped by North Korean agents during the Cold War era. However, abduction issues will not be brought up at all this time, due to that topic being officially recognized as a government-to-government matter.