An invitation to visit Pyongyang came from North Korea at Japanese-North Korean consultations in Shanghai on September 29. The sides failed to agree on dates when first results of investigation into abductions of Japanese nationals could be announced.
In July, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea told Tokyo it would set up a commission to probing into abductions of Japanese nationals, while Japan, for its part, relayed to North Korea the list of sanctions imposed against North Korea amid worsening tensions, that it was ready to lift.The delegation to Pyongyang is led by Junichi Ihara, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asia and Oceania Affairs Bureau.
Earlier, Tokyo appealed to Pyongyang to clarify the fate of Japanese nationals killed in the north of the peninsula before and after 1945, as well as those abducted in the 1970s-1980s or went missing in North Korea.
Japan and the DPRK have no diplomatic relations, no trade ties or direct transport communication. The North Korean authorities have for years demanded from Japan compensations for crimes during Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula.
According to North Korean media, from 1910 to 1945, the Japanese authorities moved out of for slave labour more than 8.4 million Koreans, of whom about 500,000 people died or went missing.
The division of Korea into South Korea and North Korea was the result of the 1945 Allied victory in WWII, ending Japan’s 35-year colonial rule of Korea.