Japan and North Korea are to hold talks this week on issues that have blocked the two countries from forging diplomatic ties.
Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Shinzo Abe, said Wednesday the talks will take place in Beijing Saturday and Sunday. He said discussions will focus on the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea, as well as reparation requests by North Korea related to Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to World War II.
Mr. Abe reiterated Japan's stance that normalizing relations with North Korea will not be possible until the abduction issue is resolved.
North Korea admits kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens to train its spies in the 1970s and 1980s. Pyongyang has returned five, but says the other eight are dead.
Japan wants conclusive proof of their deaths and says there are other cases of suspected abductions that Pyongyang has not properly addressed.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.