TOKYO, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has agreed to reinvestigate its past abduction issues of Japanese nationals, local media reported Thursday, taking it as a significant breakthrough over the decade-old problem that has long troubled the two countries' relations.
"As a result of Japan-DPRK talks, the DPRK has promised to make a comprehensive and overall investigation into all the Japanese, including abduction victims and missing people whose possibility of being abducted cannot be rule out," Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe told reporters at his office on Thursday evening.
He made the announcement a day after the two countries ended a three-day intergovernmental talk in Stockholm. After meeting with relevant ministers who participated in the talks, the Prime Minister also disclosed that DPRK would set up a special investigation committee to make progress.
According to Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the special investigation committee may need three weeks to start work. "When it launches the probe, Japan would lift part of sanctions on DPRK, such as personal flows and DPRK's ships entering into Japanese ports," Suga told reporters in a separate press conference later the day.
He also suggested that the Japanese government would discuss the issue of providing humanitarian assistance for DPRK at "an appropriate time."
The DPRK said in 2002 it abducted 13 Japanese nationals in 1970s and 1980s, but talks on the issue were shelved in December 2012, when the DPRK launched a long-range missile.
Five of those abducted have already been returned to Japan, the DPRK has previously stated, with the remaining eight having already died.
Japan has said however it is not convinced of the deaths of the eight abductees and believes there may be more abductees still unaccounted for, pending what it has described as a lack of credible evidence, but the DPRK maintained that the matter remains resolved.