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Japan believes the world is becoming united in efforts to settle the issue of North Korea’s abductions of non-North Koreans, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Thursday in reference to a statement by the leaders of the Group of Eight nations.

The statement shows “the world reached a consensus that the kidnapping issue must be resolved,” Abe said. Japan claims North Korea abducted at least 15 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s.

With the backing of the global community, Japan will step up efforts to settle the matter, Abe said.

G8 leaders said Tuesday in a chairman’s statement: “We support the efforts made by the different parties to seek by peaceful means a comprehensive solution to the North Korean nuclear issue and to other matters, including unresolved humanitarian problems such as the abductions.”

The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and the United States issued the statement at the end of their three-day annual summit, held this year in Evian, France.

Abe said last week that “settlement” would mean North Korea letting the relatives of some abductees come to Japan and providing more reliable information about the fate of other abductees.

In October, North Korea allowed five abductees visit Japan for the first time since they were kidnapped in 1978.

The abductees did not return to North Korea as planned, so the North rejected Japan’s demand that it also let returnees’ family members visit.

North Korea said eight other abductees died in the North, but their relatives in Japan claim evidence from the North documenting their deaths is inconclusive.

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