Japan considering humanitarian aid to N. Korea for first time in three years

Japan is considering humanitarian aid to North Korea for the first time since 2004 to help the impoverished nation recover from massive floods, Japan's new foreign minister was quoted as saying in interviews published Wednesday. The comments by Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura, made Tuesday and carried by Japanese newspapers on Wednesday, came as Tokyo announced it would hold two-day bilateral meetings with North Korea in Mongolia next week. Such aid would be a reversal for Japan, which froze humanitarian help to North Korea in December 2004 amid a lack of progress over Japan's demand that North Korea resolve its abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.