SHENYANG, China (AP) – Negotiators from North Korea and Japan met Monday in a northeastern Chinese city for talks on the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents.
The meeting between Japan’s Junichi Ihara and North Korea’s Song Il-ho in Shenyang was expected to last only one day, with Japan expected to pressure the North Korean delegation to produce a preliminary report on the issue.
In 2002, North Korea acknowledged that its agents had kidnapped 13 Japanese, mainly to train spies in Japanese language and culture. It allowed five of them to return to Japan that year but said the others had died. Japan has officially recognized 17 such cases, but believes hundreds more people may have been abducted and that many of them may still be alive.
Pyongyang agreed in May to launch a new probe into the abductions, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has demanded that North Korea expedite that investigation.