Japanese and North Korean officials are to meet next Tuesday in Beijing so that Pyongyang may brief Tokyo on the committee that will investigate Japanese abductees’ fates.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida announced on Wednesday that the meeting will cover the makeup and mandate of the special panel.
“The (Japanese) government thinks it is important (for Pyongyang) to vest the special investigating committee with appropriate authority that covers every organization as a subject and to launch an investigation based on that,” Kishida told reporters on Wednesday. “We would like to assess North Korea’s explanations carefully.”
Pyongyang pledged to Tokyo late last month that it would set up the special committee to conduct a comprehensive, full-scale investigation into Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents in the late 1970s and early ’80s, as well as other missing Japanese.
In return, Japan has promised that, once the committee’s reinvestigation officially starts, it will ease sanctions on Pyongyang. This includes lifting travel restrictions on North Koreans and removing the embargo on the entry of North Korean ships carrying out humanitarian missions into Japanese ports.
The Japanese government has been asking for advance information about the committee’s power and authority, organizational structure and investigation methodology, etc.
As with the official meetings last month in Stockholm, which produced the deal on abductees, the Japanese delegation will be led by Junichi Ihara, director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and Song Il Ho, Pyongyang’s ambassador for normalizing relations with Japan.
In the upcoming meeting in Beijing, Pyongyang is expected to reiterate its call for the Japanese government to stop the sale of the Tokyo headquarters building and land of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon.
Japan’s Supreme Court earlier this month suspended a permit issued by the Tokyo High Court to Marunaka Holdings, a property investment company based in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture in western Japan.
Picture: UN Geneva, Flickr Creative Commons
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