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Over the past few weeks, the issue of North Korean abductions has once again earned the spotlight in Japanese politics. In a U.N. meeting, the Japanese delegate called on the North Korean representative to work with Japan in addressing "abductions and forced disappearances." Later, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attended the memorial service of Shigeru Yokota, father of a juvenile abductee and long-time advocate for resolution of the abduction issue. There, Suga renewed his pledge to make a breakthrough with North Korea — an objective he reiterated once again in his first policy speech to the Diet a few days ago.

But does this mean anything? Can Suga actually make progress on the abduction issue, and what does this portend for Japan-North Korea relations?

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