In informal contact earlier this year, North Korea reiterated its position that abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s had been resolved, sources close to bilateral relations said Saturday.

Japan is eager to make progress in the decades-long abduction issue, possibly through a summit like that between North and South Korea scheduled for April 27, or the proposed first-ever summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea before the end of May.

But Tokyo appears to be left behind in the recent flurry of diplomatic activity and easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with no meeting in sight between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.