Japan may seek to hold a joint news conference featuring Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il if their Sept. 17 summit in Pyongyang results in an agreement to resume normalization talks, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said Tuesday.

Japanese and North Korean officials are studying the feasibility of a joint news conference, the top government spokesman told reporters.

Kim has never attended a joint news conference with a foreign leader.

When Kim visited Vladivostok in August and met Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia reportedly asked Kim to hold a joint news conference with Putin.

North Korea rejected the request, according to informed sources.

Fukuda said Japan will use a government plane for the visit, flatly denying a report in a Japanese daily earlier in the day.

The Sankei Shimbun newspaper had said that the Japanese government had decided to use two chartered planes to go to North Korea. The paper said the reason for this was that North Korea has shown “strong opposition” to the use of a government plane.

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