World / Asia-Pacific

Japanese delegation visits DPRK on abduction issue

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-28 14:49

PYONGYANG - The special investigation committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) started talks Tuesday with a Japanese delegation for an update on the reinvestigation into abductions of Japanese nationals by DPRK agents during 1970s and 1980s.

So Dae Ha, chairman of the special investigation committee, met with Junichi Ihara, director general of Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at the DPRK immigration bureau, where the special investigation committee is based.

"I know that there are different voices in Japan about this visit. Under such circumstances, the visit of the delegation has demonstrated Japan's stance on abiding by DPRK-Japan Pyongyang Declaration and Japan has made the right choice," said So.

So also introduced heads of the panels set up under the investigation committee.

The committee, composed of about 30 officials, has four panels in the capital city of Pyongyang and branches in other cities and counties across the country, according to state media KCNA.

The four panels will be respectively investigating the remains of Japanese, remaining Japanese and their spouses, Japanese abductees and the missing Japanese in the DPRK.

Ihara emphasized in the meeting that the abduction issue is a top priority for Japan. He also noted that four months have passed since the investigation committee was set up.

The DPRK announced in early July the establishment of the special investigation committee tasked with investigating the fate of the Japanese citizens kidnapped in late 1970s and early 1980s to become spies.

But in September, the DPRK side failed to provide an initial report for Japan and later during inter-governmental talks, the DPRK asked Japan to send a delegation to Pyongyang for more information about the issue, according to Japanese local media.

Both sides will have two-day closed-door talks on the latest developments of the issue and the Japanese government officials who arrived in Pyongyang on Monday will leave on Thursday.

The DPRK acknowledged in 2002 that it had abducted 13 Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s. Talks on the issue were shelved in December 2012, when the DPRK launched a long-range missile.

Eight abductees have died and the remaining five have been repatriated, said the DPRK. However, Japan has pressed for more information about the fate of the abductees who have died and others that it believes were also kidnapped.

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