LDP’s Yamasaki says Abe should go to N. Korea over abductions

LDP’s Yamasaki says Abe should go to N. Korea over abductions

TOKYO, Feb. 18 Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should himself go to North Korea in an effort to win a sincere response on the issue of Pyongyang’s abductions of Japanese nationals, senior ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Taku Yamasaki said Sunday during a television program.

”Direct dialogue should be held. It will be no good dealing with the issue in the working group. Prime Minister Abe, or somebody else, would do,” he said, referring to a working group on discussing normalization of Japan-North Korean relations agreed to be set up at the latest session of the six-party talks.

The six-day session in Beijing wrapped up Tuesday, adopting a document calling for providing North Korea with energy and humanitarian assistance in exchange for its disabling of its nuclear facilities.

The document also addresses establishing five working groups, including the one on Japan-North Korean relations.

Yamasaki, a House of Representatives member and former LDP vice president, later told reporters he does not think the six-party talks an appropriate place to discuss the abduction issue because they are aimed at defusing North Korean nuclear tensions.

The six-way talks involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

Yamasaki, meanwhile, said during the TV Asahi program that he has asked North Korean officials whether they hope former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will visit the North for a third time, but they replied they do not.

He visited North Korea in January and held talks with various officials including Song Il Ho, North Korea’s ambassador in charge of diplomatic normalization talks with Japan.

While in office as prime minister, Koizumi visited North Korea twice — in September 2002 and May 2004.

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