Wrestler-turned-lawmaker Antonio Inoki on Thursday arrived in Pyongyang to prepare for a martial arts extravaganza next month and said he plans to express his "true opinions" to North Korean officials amid signs of improvement in bilateral relations.

The former professional wrestling star said he hopes to meet with veteran North Korean bureaucrat Kang Sok Ju, who has a strong influence on foreign policy, and other senior officials in the ruling Korean Workers' Party. He also hopes to visit the reclusive country's sports facilities during his stay through Monday.

"We have to prevent (the situation) from turning back," the 71-year-old House of Councilors member from Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) told reporters at Beijing's international airport before heading to the North Korean capital.