National

Abductee update 'should precede talks'

Japan should not resume normalization talks with North Korea until Pyongyang issues a fresh report on the fate of 10 missing Japanese, Cabinet Secretariat adviser Kyoto Nakayama suggested Thursday.

Nakayama, in charge of the North Korean abduction issue, made the comments at a meeting with relatives and people working on behalf of Japanese abducted to the North during the 1970s and 1980s, according to Shigeru Yokota, head of the association of kin.

Many government officials have said the time is ripe to resume normalization talks now that the families of the five repatriated abductees have come to Japan.

However, Yokota said Nakayama told the relatives that the government should think carefully about whether normalization talks should be restarted before North Korea airs the results of its promised probe into the 10 other missing Japanese.

Last year, a government panel on the issue proposed that Tokyo resume normalization talks once the North allowed the five returnees’ offspring and Charles Jenkins, the American husband of one of the five, Hitomi Soga, to come to Japan.

In 2002, Pyongyang claimed eight of the 10 had died in the North and the other two, including Soga’s mother, had never entered the country.

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