A Diet panel dropped its plan Friday to hear unsworn testimony from high-ranking North Korean defector Hwang Jang Yop on issues related to North Korea, particularly its abductions of Japanese, panel members said.

Representatives from the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee made the decision after being told by the South Korean government that the timing was inappropriate. Hwang lives in South Korea.

The representatives, Gen Nakatani from the LDP and Teruhiko Mashiko from the DPJ, agreed that they and other panel members will try to hear Hwang’s testimony after meeting the conditions set by the South Korean government, they said. The conditions are that Hwang be invited to Japan by an entity other than the government or Diet and that the government guarantee his safety.

Hwang, a former secretary of the Workers Party of Korea and a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and his late father, Kim Il Sung, defected to South Korea when he stopped over in Beijing on his way home from Japan in 1997.

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