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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that Tokyo has been communicating with Pyongyang through “various means” on the possibility of meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while also voicing a positive note about the prospects of opening a three-way dialogue involving Washington.

Abe’s remarks during an Upper House Budget Committee session came on the heels of recent media reports saying Tokyo had conveyed to Pyongyang Abe’s willingness to hold talks with Kim, in the hope of making headway on the long-stalled abduction issue concerning Japanese taken by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ’80s.

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