Veteran Japanese lawmaker to visit North Korea

Veteran lawmaker Taku Yamasaki plans to visit North Korea on Tuesday, an aide to the politician said Monday, a trip intended to break an impasse in international talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programs. Yamasaki left for China on Monday and plans to go to North Korea the following day, according to the lawmaker's secretary Toshitaka Nishimura, who declined to give further details including who Yamasaki is expected to meet while in Pyongyang. Kyodo News agency reported late Sunday that Yamasaki may meet with Song Il Ho, the North Korean ambassador in charge of diplomatic normalization talks with Japan. The visit is expected to last for about five days, Kyodo said, citing unnamed government and Liberal Democratic Party officials.