TOKYO - North Korea and Japan, normally barely on speaking terms other than to exchange accusations, ended their first direct talks in four years on Friday by agreeing to meet again, the latest sign of Pyongyang's recent attempts to come in from the cold.
The destitute state's new young leader Kin Jong-un has been pushing hard to soften the stern image of his ruling dynasty, signal plans to reform the economy and win more support from its only real ally, China.
After this week's working-level talks, the next round will be with senior officials, though no date has been set.
The main focus for Japan is the fate of Japanese abducted by North Korea decades ago and Pyongyang's nuclear weapon's program, seen as one of the biggest threats to the economically powerful region.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders