TOKYO, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Japanese State Minister in charge of abduction issue Keiji Furuya said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is prepared to visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) if it could help resolve the abduction issue, local media reported late Wednesday.
"The prime minister says he is ready to meet with First Secretary Kim Jong Un fairly and squarely, if it is truly for resolving the abduction issue, not for talks for the sake of talks, " Furuya was quoted as saying in a TV program.
But the minister did not unveil when or where the prime minister made the remarks, said Japan's Kyodo News.
Abe, however, had downplayed the possibility to visit the DPRK before his departure to Europe earlier the month by saying that it is "too early to make a decision on that."
But meanwhile, local reports said that the Japanese government consulted with relevant U.S. officials regarding the conclusion of talks held between Japan and the DPRK in Stockholm last month, as the DPRK had committed to conducting a full investigation into the abduction issue.
Japan, for its part, has agreed to lift some of its sanction on the DPRK, including those pertaining to human travel, wire transfers and vessels entering ports here.
In 2002, the DPRK admitted to having abducted 13 Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, but has repeatedly stated since that the matter has already been settled with Japan, with five of the abductees allowed to return home to Japan and the remaining eight being declared dead.