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Abduction delegation to meet North Korean officials in Pyongyang on Tuesday

Kyodo

Japan will begin two days of talks with North Korean officials in Pyongyang on Tuesday regarding the investigation into the fate of Japanese abductees, the government said.

A delegation of around 10 officials, led by Junichi Ihara, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, will leave on Monday for the North Korean capital and will return Oct. 30, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday.

Japan is trying to arrange a briefing by So Tae Ha, the chairman of the special investigation committee. He is a vice minister of state security.

The purpose of the trip is to “tell a person in a suitable position that the abduction issue is the highest priority for Japan and to obtain details of the current status of the investigation,” Suga said.

Many relatives of the abduction victims have said they are against sending the delegation, fearing North Korea will use the visit to seek more concessions before proceeding with the investigation.

Asked about this, Suga said: “The government believes it is worth going there. We want to solve the issue no matter what, through a combination of dialogue and pressure.”

It will be the first dispatch of such a delegation since November 2004.

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