Report: Japanese Lawmakers to Visit N. Korea

Posted November 2nd, 2011 at 7:45 am (UTC-5)
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A leading Japanese broadcaster says Japanese lawmakers will visit North Korea next week for talks expected to focus on the North's nuclear weapons program and a spate of decades-old kidnappings.

TV Asahi, in a report Wednesday, said the bipartisan Japanese delegation will be led by lower house vice-speaker Seishiro Eto and will arrive in Pyongyang November 9. The report said talks are set with senior North Korean government and Communist Party officials.

North Korea has admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s. Pyongyang later allowed five abductees to return home, but said the others had died.

Japan suspects the North is still hiding survivors and has abducted more people than it admits.

Analysts say the dispute has contributed to the standoff between the North and a host of countries — including Japan, South Korea and the United States — which are pressing Pyongyang to curb its nuclear ambitions. China and Russia were the other participants in six-party negotiations which have been frozen since North Korea walked out in 2009.