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The first senior-level talks held between Japan and North Korea since August 2008 have resulted in an agreement to continue discussing Pyongyang’s past abductions of Japanese nationals, despite the two sides’ vastly differing agendas.

Although a resolution of the decades-old abductee dispute is still not in sight, Japan did at least manage to make “minimum progress” on the issue, a senior Foreign Ministry official said after Japanese and North Korean officials ended two days of talks Friday in Mongolia’s frigid capital.

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