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The government admitted Tuesday that Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has met a Korean journalist alleged to have delivered a secret letter from Mori to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in August.

However, it again denied that Mori sent any letter to Kim.

The government’s statement came in a written reply to a member of the the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan, who submitted a set of questions to the Cabinet earlier this month, based on the Diet Law.

According to media reports, Mori sent the letter to Kim, calling for a summit in a bid to effect a breakthrough in bilateral relations. Mori did not use official diplomatic channels, despite the two countries being engaged in a series of normalization talks, the reports say.

In his Oct. 6 inquiry to the Cabinet, Jun Azumi — a DPJ member of the House of Representatives — said national interests may have been damaged if the letter was sent without necessary coordination with the Foreign Ministry, which is responsible for normalization talks with Pyongyang.

The Cabinet’s reply to the lawmaker insisted it “is not aware that there is any such fact that Prime Minister Mori sent a letter to Kim Jong Il . . . in August this year.”

However, the Cabinet did admit that the prime minister knows the journalist, Mun Myong Ja, and has met her this year.

Mun is a Korean journalist who lives in the United States and reportedly has strong ties with North Korea.

Azumi said the reply was inadequate and that he will make another inquiry to the Cabinet.

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