North Korea may begin making contact with Japan, sources close to the matter suggested Tuesday, a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed willingness to hold a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "without conditions."

North Korea has criticized Abe for using the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the country's agents "for political purposes," but Kim might try to get closer to Japan — a U.S. ally — as talks with U.S. President Donald Trump are deadlocked, the sources said.

In early March, the Rodong Sinmun, Pyongyang's most influential newspaper, attributed the collapse of the second U.S.-North Korea summit in February in Hanoi to Abe's having asked Trump to raise the abduction issue at the meeting.