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The Foreign Ministry has decided to appoint Akitaka Saiki, Japan’s chief delegate to the talks with North Korea on the abduction and nuclear issues, as a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Washington later this year, according to ministry sources.

The decision is likely to draw fire from the families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea because they trust Saiki for his tough stand on the North, along with Kyoko Nakayama, who resigned Wednesday as Cabinet Secretariat adviser on the abduction issue.

Saiki has headed the Japanese delegation to the Japan-North Korea talks on the abduction issue as well as the Japanese delegation to a working group of the six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear development program.

He is deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau.

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