RealNews

Japanese leader looks to close book on N. Korean abductions

Seeking a resolution to the Cold War-era tragedy of Japanese who were kidnapped by North Korea, Japan’s prime minister flew to Pyongyang on Saturday to meet leader Kim Jong Il and try to negotiate the return of Japanese family members there. The one-day visit by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is expected to allow several of the North Korea-born children of the abductees to join their parents in Japan. Koizumi’s trip, his second to the communist country since 2002, also may help improve the atmosphere for broader international talks over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, but there are no signs of a breakthrough in those delicate, and stalled, negotiations. If Koizumi can win the release of the family members, Japan is likely to offer North Korea a significant one-time donation of food aid. It also would begin broader talks on normalizing diplomatic relations between the two estranged countries. If that were to happen, it would open the door to Japan providing North Korea a big infusion of economic aid that could total in the billions of dollars. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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