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Japanese delegation arrives in N. Korea

All News 23:06 September 14, 2019

SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- A Japanese delegation arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea's state news agency said Saturday, amid soured relations between the two countries.

The Yamanashi prefectural delegation led by Shingo Kanemaru arrived in Pyongyang, the Korean Central News Agency said in a one-sentence dispatch.

Kanemaru is the second son of late Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Shin Kanemaru, who met with North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung during a visit to Pyongyang in 1990 with other Japanese politicians.

It remains unclear whom Shingo Kanemaru will meet during his visit.

The trip came four months after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered to hold a summit with Kim's grandson, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, without any preconditions.

In June, North Korea dismissed Abe's offer as "a height of brazen-facedness," accusing Japan of desperately hurting North Korea.

Last year, Shingo Kanemaru met with Song Il-ho, the North Korean ambassador for normalization talks with Japan.

Japan ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony from 1910-45. It normalized relations with South Korea in 1965 but has no formal ties with North Korea.

A key hurdle for diplomatic normalization between North Korea and Japan is the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens.

In 2002, then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il admitted to then-Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Pyongyang that the North had abducted 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies on Japanese language and culture.

The North at the time returned five of the abductees and claimed the other eight were dead.


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