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As the world waited restlessly Tuesday for U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to emerge from their first-ever direct talks, and announce their progress — or the lack thereof — toward the prospect of denuclearization, Japan looked for signs that the two had addressed, however briefly, its “top priority” in their talks: the fate of 17 Japanese nationals kidnapped by the regime’s agents in 1970s and 80s.

Per the 2002 Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, Tokyo has long maintained that the abduction issue should be considered alongside the regime’s nuclear and missile development, which tends to get a higher profile on the international stage, citing “comprehensive” resolution of all these issues as a condition for normalizing ties with Pyongyang and providing the rogue state with economic aid.

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