The government has been facing growing internal calls to overhaul its policy on North Korea by allowing talks on economic aid to precede the delayed effort to resolve the abduction issue, government sources said.

While North Korea has shown no signs of backing down from claims that the issue, which dates from the 1970s and 1980s, has been settled, Japan has maintained it will not normalize diplomatic relations and extend economic assistance unless the past kidnappings are resolved.

The proposed policy shift, which still faces strong opposition in the government, would focus on building mutual trust before paving the way for further talks on the abductions, the sources said Friday.