The chief US envoy at North Korean nuclear talks said Wednesday the United States will make sure that close ally Japan is satisfied before lifting North Korea from a US list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorists. Christopher Hill acknowledged that the North has raised the terror-list removal repeatedly as a crucial part of a February nuclear disarmament accord. But, he said, the United States is "not going to cup our eyes and pretend that a country is not a state sponsor of terrorism if they are a state sponsor." Japan, the top US ally in northeast Asia, is refusing to provide the North with energy and economic aid until the abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s by North Korean agents is resolved. Many in Tokyo see the abduction issue as linked to the US terrorism designation.