• Kyodo

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Upper House opposition lawmaker and former professional wrestler Antonio Inoki left Friday on a planned six-day visit to North Korea despite the disapproval of a Diet committee.

Inoki, a member of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), is to attend a sporting event.

He also hopes to meet with senior members of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, including Kim Yong Il, director of the party’s International Department, sources said, noting Inoki will stop over in Beijing before arriving in Pyongyang on Saturday.

The Upper House Steering Committee said it wouldn’t authorize the trip and added Inoki may face punishment for the unprecedented offense.

Inoki last visited North Korea in late July, when he attended an official event in Pyongyang commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. He said in August that he wants to create an environment for a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.

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