TOKYO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Japan welcomes the release of two U.S. journalists from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) following a visit to Pyongyang by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the top government spokesman said Wednesday.
"The two U.S. journalists left Pyongyang with former President
Clinton. The Japanese government welcomes that," Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo
Kawamura told a press conference.
The two journalists, who worked for the San Francisco-based Current
TV co-founded by Gore, were captured on March 17 for allegedly crossing the DPRK
border from China. They were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in June.
Their chartered plane made a refueling stop at a U.S. military base
in northern Japan en route to Los Angeles Wednesday morning, Japanese
broadcaster NHK reported.
Kawamura said the United States had notified Japan of Clinton's
visit, and the visit was purely aimed at releasing the journalists, not related
to the stagnated six-party talks.
Backgrounder: Detention, trial of two U.S. journalists by DPRK