North Korea appears to be considering using home visits by Japanese women who moved to the isolated state with their Korean husbands in a 1959-1984 repatriation project as leverage to improve relations with Tokyo.

North Korea’s official media ran notes by Mitsuko Minakawa, one of these women, in January in an apparent attempt to grab Japan’s attention, especially when the two countries have been mired in the dispute over the abductions of Japanese nationals and other issues that prevent the normalization of diplomatic ties.

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