TOKYO - Japan has started looking into resuming inter-governmental talks with North Korea after a surprise visit to Pyongyang by an aide to Japan's prime minister, the Asahi Shimbun and other newspapers said on Wednesday.
Such talks, intended to discuss North Korea's abduction of Japanese citizens decades ago and other issues, were last held in November 2012, but have been halted due to the North's missile launch in December and nuclear test in February.
"The Abe government on (May) 21st started preparatory work to restart inter-governmental negotiations with North Korea," the Asahi said, without citing sources.
Through the inter-governmental talks, Japan aims to not only solve the abduction issue but also address North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, the Asahi said.
Isao Iijima's visit last week to the North Korean capital and his talks with senior officials there irritated South Korea and prompted Glyn Davies, a US envoy for North Korea, to stress the importance of close coordination among countries.