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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will spend more than 11 hours in Pyongyang on Tuesday to hold landmark talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, a Foreign Ministry official said Monday.

But how much time he actually spends with Kim during the one-day trip to the North Korean capital, or where the two will meet, is uncertain and will likely remain so until just prior to the start of the summit, the official said.

“We want to make the prime minister’s visit as practical as possible,” the official said. “But we do not yet know how the meeting will be held. We anticipate the summit talks will take up quite some time.”

Shinzo Abe, deputy chief Cabinet secretary; Deputy Foreign Minister Toshiyuki Takano; Hitoshi Tanaka, Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau director general; and Shin Ebihara, Treaties Bureau director general, are scheduled to accompany Koizumi.

The Japanese delegation is expected to number around 40 to 50, but it is not yet decided who will actually sit in on the meeting between Koizumi and Kim, the official said.

Government sources said earlier the meeting is scheduled to last three or four hours or more if necessary.

Media charter plane

PYONGYANG (Kyodo) A chartered plane carrying members of the media arrived in Pyongyang from Tokyo on Monday afternoon ahead of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s landmark summit Tuesday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

The plane was chartered by the press club at the prime minister’s office because the government plane carrying the prime minister can only accommodate about 30 reporters and there are few commercial flights to Pyongyang.

The number of reporters, including those from international media organizations, approved by the North Korean authorities is 120, the largest number ever to visit the country.

North Korea will allow the reporters to stay in Pyongyang from Monday to Wednesday to cover Koizumi’s one-day visit to the city for his meeting with Kim.

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