Report: Koizumi mulls visit to N. Korea

Japan's former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is mulling a visit to North Korea to urge it to abandon its nuclear weapons program, news reports said Thursday. Koizumi told senior ruling party lawmaker Taku Yamasaki during a meeting Wednesday that he was considering a trip as a special envoy to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to reports by public broadcaster NHK and the mass-circulation daily, Yomiuri Shimbun. The former leader wants to urge the North to honor a 2002 pledge to maintain peace in Northeast Asia and freeze its missile program, made at summit talks in Pyongyang between Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the reports said. "Denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula is a responsibility I want to take on as politician," Yomiuri quoted Koizumi as telling Yamasaki.