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North Korea promises to resume abduction probe


At the working-level talks held in Beijing on June 11-12 between Japan and North Korea, the North Korean delegation promised to reopen its investigation with a view to taking concrete steps toward settling the issue of the abductions of Japanese nationals.


By making this promise, North Korea has stopped insisting that the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals has been settled.


Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura Nobutaka revealed this at a news conference on June 13.


Taking the North Korean promise as a positive move, the Japanese government agreed to ease economic sanctions that have restricted personal travel and chartered flights between the two countries, and to allow the North Korean ferry Man Gyong Bong carrying humanitarian supplies to enter Japanese ports.


Regarding food, energy and other humanitarian support for North Korea, Machimura said the time is not ripe to do so.


It was also agreed that North Korea will hand over Japanese hijackers of the 1970 Japan Airlines flight to Pyongyang. The Japanese government has demanded that North Korea hand over one of the hijackers and two wives of the hijackers for allegedly helping in the abduction of some Japanese.

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In a statement published on June 13 on the results of the Japan-North Korea talks Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi said as follows:


North Korea has promised to reopen the investigation into abductions of Japanese nationals with the aim of settling the issue and to hand over to Japan hijackers of the JAL jetliner eYodo.f Japan promised North Korea to lift a part of its sanctions on North Korea.


This is a step forward toward a solution of the issues pending between the two countries. The JCP expects that both governments will take advantage of this agreement to take initiatives in normalizing relations between the two countries in accordance with the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration of September 17, 2002.                                                                                    - Akahata, June 14, 2008


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