Japan says it will not provide any aid to North Korea until the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the North is resolved.
Tokyo's minister in charge of the abduction issue, Keiji Furuya, says in an interview with VOA's Korean service that North Korea needs to understand that there is little Pyongyang can accomplish with Tokyo until the issue is settled.
"Not a single yen will be sent to the North unless the abduction issue is resolved," said Furuya.
He added that he would play a part in any negotiations with Pyongyang if they could lead to a resolution of the matter.
Earlier this week, Red Cross officials from Japan and North Korea held informal talks in China. Officials say the talks focused on the possibility of returning the remains of Japanese who died in North Korea at the end of World War II.
If the two sides agree on broader bilateral talks similar to the ones they last held in 2012, they would likely include discussions of the abduction issue.
Japan is upset over the North Korean abduction of at least 13 of its citizens in the 1970s and 1980s. Five have been repatriated and Pyongyang says the rest have died.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.