National / Politics

Senior Japanese officials arrive in Singapore ahead of Trump-Kim summit

Kyodo

With just two days to go before the historic U.S.-North Korea summit, senior Japanese officials arrived in Singapore on Sunday to collect information about the outcome of the meeting.

“The Japanese government’s basic policy is to back up the success of the U.S.-North Korea summit,” Kenji Kanasugi, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, told reporters at Tokyo’s Haneda airport before leaving for Singapore earlier in the day.

Kanasugi, who heads the Japanese liaison team, added that their delegation will closely communicate with U.S. officials in Singapore.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet Tuesday at a hotel on Sentosa Island for the first-ever summit between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

Japan hopes to build on the recent momentum surrounding North Korea to eventually make headway into resolving the decades-old issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s, which has prevented the two countries from establishing diplomatic ties.

Japan also hopes that a successful outcome of the Trump-Kim summit will lead to an agreement by North Korea not just on intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach mainland U.S. targets but shorter-range missiles capable of hitting Japan and South Korea, Japanese officials say.

A flurry of diplomatic activity has ensued in the run-up to the summit. Government sources have said Japan is considering informal talks with North Korea on the fringes of an international security forum in Mongolia following the Trump-Kim meeting.

Shotaro Yachi, who heads the secretariat of the National Security Council, also joined the delegation.