Japan says it hopes to resolve a lengthy dispute with North Korea over kidnappings when the two countries resume talks Thursday, after a one-year break.
Japanese negotiators are to arrive Wednesday, in Beijing, a day ahead of the scheduled talks.
North Korea has admitted kidnapping Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies.
It has admitted to 13 abductions and has returned five kidnap victims along with their families. North Korea says the other eight abductees are dead.
Tokyo says Pyongyang has never provided conclusive proof of the deaths. Japan says there are several other cases of suspected abductions that North Korea has not properly investigated.
The dispute has prevented North Korea from establishing diplomatic ties with Japan.