North Korea's ambassador for negotiations to normalize relations with Japan told a visiting Japanese delegation on Wednesday that ties between the two countries have been going "from bad to worse rather than becoming normal," during a meeting in Pyongyang.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has recently expressed enthusiasm to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without conditions, but Song Il Ho's remarks suggest that Pyongyang has little intention of holding a summit with Tokyo in the near future.

The delegation was led by Shingo Kanemaru, the second son of Shin Kanemaru — a late lawmaker who worked toward the establishment of diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang in the 1990s.