Japan and North Korea held se­cret meet­ing in Ulaan­baatar

The UB Post - - Front Page - By B.CHINTUSHIG

A se­cret meet­ing was re­port­edly held be­tween high-rank­ing Ja­panese in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial Shigeru Ki­ta­mura and a North Korean se­nior of­fi­cial in Ulaan­baatar re­gard­ing the is­sue of Ja­panese cit­i­zens ab­ducted by North Korea, re­ported Kyodo News.

Be­gin­ning in the 1977, North Korean agents be­gan ab­duct­ing Ja­panese cit­i­zens liv­ing in the coastal ar­eas. The Ja­panese govern­ment has of­fi­cially rec­og­nized 17 peo­ple as hav­ing been ab­ducted but there is ev­i­dence that there may have been hun­dreds of vic­tims.

North Korea only con­fessed to hav­ing ab­ducted 13 Ja­panese cit­i­zens and has said that the is­sue has been re­solved af­ter it re­turned five vic­tims. How­ever, the Ja­panese govern­ment has still main­tained that the is­sue has not been re­solved. Ne­go­ti­a­tions to re­turn Ja­panese cit­i­zens back to Japan have been on­go­ing for decades.

Shigeru Ki­ta­mura is be­lieved to have met with a North Korean se­nior of­fi­cial in Ulaan­baatar from Oc­to­ber 6 to 8. Ki­ta­mura is the head of the Cab­i­net In­tel­li­gence and Re­search Of­fice, and a close as­so­ciate of Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, the Ja­panese Kyodo news agency re­ported, cit­ing in­formed sources.

On the North Korean side, the un­named of­fi­cial is re­port­edly a se­nior fig­ure from the United Front De­part­ment of the Work­ers' Party.

The meet­ing could be con­sis­tent with Abe's stated de­sire to ar­range a sum­mit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un af­ter he re­ceives as­sur­ances about progress on the long-stand­ing is­sue of ab­duc­tions of Ja­panese na­tion­als by Py­ongyang in the 1970s and 1980s, Kyodo said.

Ad­mit­ting that the meet­ing took place, a se­nior Ja­panese govern­ment of­fi­cial told Kyodo News, "I heard they dis­cussed how the ab­duc­tion is­sue should be solved be­tween Japan and North Korea."

"I heard they dis­cussed how the ab­duc­tion is­sue should be solved be­tween Japan and North Korea," a Ja­panese se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cial told the agency, ad­mit­ting that the meet­ing in the Mon­go­lian cap­i­tal took place.

Ac­cord­ing to the agency, North Korea had un­of­fi­cially no­ti­fied Japan that Mi­noru Tanaka, one of the 17 Ja­panese na­tion­als be­lieved to have been ab­ducted by Py­ongyang decades ago, had ac­tu­ally en­tered North Korea.

Ki­ta­mura might have cov­ered the is­sue of where­abouts of Tanaka and other ab­ductees dur­ing the talks in Mon­go­lia, the news out­let has pre­dicted. Kyodo noted that the meet­ing be­tween Ja­panese and North Korean in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials has been the first talks of this kind in around three months fol­low­ing Ki­ta­mura's meet­ing with Kim Song Hye, the head of the United Front De­part­ment's tac­ti­cal of­fice in Viet­nam in mid-July.

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