North Korea’s economic plight in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters may give Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga a chance to meet with the nuclear-armed country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, foreign affairs experts say.

As the global virus outbreak has stifled North Korea’s trade with its major economic ally of China and massive flooding triggered by powerful typhoons has devastated the agricultural sector, Kim could extend an olive branch to Japan to receive aid to rebuild the stagnant economy.

During his tenure, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe failed to resolve the issue of North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, but his successor might push forward negotiations on it in a more effective way than his predecessor has done.