Japan and North Korea will hold senior working-level talks in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator on Nov. 15 to 16, to amend relations between the two countries, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura Friday.
Kyodo news agency quoted reliable sources of the two countries’affairs, as saying that the meeting will focuss on the abduction issue, which remains a major obstacle to normalizing bilateral ties and which Tokyo has long sought to resolve as a national priority.
Osamu Fujimura expressed indication that such a thorny issue of Pyongyang’s past abductions of Japanese nationals would be on the agenda.
“In the talks, we’ll discuss a wide range of issues of mutual concern,” the top government spokesman said at a news conference, adding that because higher-level talks are now taking place, “I want to pin hopes on it,” he added.
Japan is hoping to make clear that bilateral talks will deal with the abduction issue, which remains a major obstacle to normalizing bilateral ties and which Tokyo has long sought to resolve as a national priority.
Japan wants information on the abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ’80s. Japan believes at least one abductee may still be alive and in the North, though North Korea denies this.
The issue, along with concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, has been a thorn in ties between the two countries, which do not have formal diplomatic relations. In August, they held their first bilateral talks in four years.