• Kyodo

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Former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who died in December 2011, issued an order in July 2007 to seek improved relations with Japan, and the instruction was conveyed in 2012 to a key official in the Democratic Party of Japan-led government, a diplomatic source said.

Since the order was never revoked before the death of Kim Jong Il, current leader Kim Jong Un took over the policy as his father’s “will,” the source on Friday quoted a senior North Korean official as saying.

Based on the order, Pyongyang agreed with the Liberal Democratic Party administration of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in August 2008 to reinvestigate the whereabouts of Japanese abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and ’80s.

But the deal was never completed because Fukuda stepped down as prime minister the following month, according to the source.

In 2012, the senior North Korean official met with the key senior official in the DPJ-led government and relayed Kim Jong Il’s instruction.

However, the DPJ was crushed in the December 2012 general election and the LDP returned to power.