Inoki leaves for Pyongyang again

JIJI

Opposition lawmaker Antonio Inoki left for North Korea on Sunday for his second visit to the reclusive country in as many months.

Inoki is set to arrive in Pyongyang on Monday via Beijing.

The professional wrestler-turned-politician, a member of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), will hold talks with senior officials of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

When he last visited the country, in November, Inoki held talks with the late Jang Song Thaek, uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It will be closely watched whether North Korean officials give Inoki some explanation about Jang’s execution, which was carried out in December.

Inoki hopes to discuss a proposed mission of Japanese lawmakers to North Korea and bilateral sports exchanges. Inoki made the proposal in November.

Following the November visit, Inoki was suspended from the House of Councilors for 30 days as punishment for going abroad while the Diet was in session without obtaining advance permission from the chamber. This time, he can travel overseas without Upper House permission as the Diet is not in session.