Japan has reached a turning point in deciding whether it will continue to advocate "pressure" on North Korea as its close ally, the United States, leans toward dialogue with Pyongyang.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has always said that maintaining pressure on Pyongyang is vital in compelling it to discard its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

But he has been forced to withdraw his signature policy toward North Korea in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's pledge to refrain from using the word "maximum pressure" ahead of the summit between Washington and Pyongyang scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.