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Japan’s food aid to North Korea has been distributed properly and reached ordinary people, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Monday.

The food aid has been “delivered to people in need, and they have recognized the aid is coming from Japan,” Vice Foreign Minister Yukio Takeuchi told reporters, referring to the results of a study by the World Food Program in which Japanese officials took part.

The monitoring mission ended Saturday.

Takeuchi said ministry officials will take part in similar missions as part of the government’s efforts to implement proper assistance for the starving country.

Japan provided 125,000 tons of food aid earlier this year to North Korea, half the 250,000 tons it pledged through international bodies in May when Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il held a summit in Pyongyang.

As for the rest of the promised aid, Takeuchi only said, “We will consider it after examining the situation in North Korea and requests from international organizations.”

Bilateral talks on North Korea’s abduction of Japanese citizens have failed to make progress, with Japanese officials expressing disappointment that the North’s delegation has never properly responded to its followup questions.

The third round of talks starts Tuesday in Pyongyang.

Japan will seek material evidence from North Korea concerning the fate of Japanese who Pyongyang says have died after being kidnapped to the reclusive state in the 1970s and 1980s.

Japan has expressed dissatisfaction over North Korea’s reports during the previous two rounds concerning its reinvestigation into the cases of eight Japanese said to have died and two others on Tokyo’s list of abduction victims.

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