Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday it is premature to discuss whether he will visit North Korea, following Pyongyang’s recent promise to reinvestigate the fate of Japanese nationals it abducted in the 1970s and 1980s.
“It’s too early to make a decision on that,” Abe told reporters at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, when asked if he may visit North Korea during the final stages of talks on the abduction issue.
“I would like to urge North Korea to produce results,” Abe said. “Time is running out. The families of abduction victims are getting older. We will do our utmost to have North Korea keep its promise.”
He made the remarks before leaving for Belgium, the venue of a two-day Group of Seven summit that starts Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said a visit by Abe to North Korea could be one option to settle the long-standing abduction issue.
Kishida said the administration would study the possibility of a trip by Abe to North Korea, though “nothing has been decided at present.”