PYONGYANG, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Japan agreed to investigate the abduction of Japanese citizens fully and lift sanctions against Pyongyang at intergovernmental talks in Sweden, official news agency KCNA said Thursday.
"The DPRK side agreed to simultaneously conduct a comprehensive survey of all Japanese, including the remains and graves of Japanese, remaining Japanese, Japanese spouses, victims of abduction and missing persons," the KCNA report said.
The DPRK-Japan intergovernmental talks were held in Stockholm from Monday to Wednesday between delegations led by Song Il Ho, the DPRK's ambassador for talks to normalize relations with Japan, and Junichi Ihara. director general of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
"Both sides had an in-depth discussion on the issues of settling the inglorious past, settling pending issues and normalizing bilateral relations according to the DPRK-Japan Pyongyang Declaration," the report said, referring to a 2002 document aimed at seeking early normalization of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The report said the Japanese side voiced its intent to finally lift sanctions against the DPRK, and to take a sincere approach toward building confidence and settling issues of improving bilateral relations.
Japan agreed to lift restrictions on visits, lift special restrictions against the DPRK regarding money remittance and money carried by visitors, and lift the embargo on the entry of DPRK-flagged ships with a humanitarian mission into Japanese ports, as soon as the DPRK sets up a "special investigation committee" for the comprehensive survey, it said.
The DPRK side said it was willing to inform the Japanese side of the survey and confirmation when necessary, the report said, adding Japan also agreed to examine its humanitarian aid to the DPRK at an appropriate time.
In 2002, the DPRK acknowledged it abducted 13 Japanese nationals in the 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 been returned to Japan, the DPRK has previously stated, with the remaining eight having already died.
However, Japan has said 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 maintains the matter remains resolved.
DPRK to reinvestigate abduction issues of Japanese nationals: report
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. Full story