North Korea agreed Friday to a request from Japan to hold a meeting in Pyongyang in mid-November on the abduction issue, according to Seiken Sugiura, deputy chief Cabinet secretary.
Tokyo wants the next round of bilateral negotiations be held in Pyongyang because in the previous two meetings, held in Beijing, the North Korean side refused to answer Japanese delegates’ questions about details of the fate of 10 missing Japanese, saying they needed to consult with officials back home.
North Korean diplomats have told the delegates that special organizations abducted the Japanese, and are refusing to cooperate with the probe.
Pyongyang says eight of the 10 people died after being kidnapped. It says the other two never entered the country.
By visiting Pyongyang, Japanese officials hope to have direct access to North Korean officials with firsthand knowledge of the abduction issue.
Japan hopes to upgrade the negotiations to bureau-chief level from the working-level talks in previous meetings, a senior government official said.
Sugiura said that Mitoji Yabunaka, head of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Akitaka Saiki, deputy director general, will be the main participants.
Tokyo will apply a policy of “dialogue and pressure” on North Korea during the talks, he said, citing increasing domestic pressure for economic sanctions to be placed on North Korea.
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