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Japan, North Korea to Discuss Abductees

Japan and North Korea are scheduled to hold talks this week on Japanese citizens kidnaped by Pyongyang decades ago who remain missing.

The feud over the abducted Japanese is a major stumbling block to opening diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea.

The four days of working-level talks start Tuesday in Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il said at a September 2002 summit with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that Pyongyang's agents had kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s and taken them to North Korea to help train spies.

Five of the abductees were allowed to return to Japan in 2002. Tokyo has demanded more information on the remaining eight, plus two suspected kidnap victims whose whereabouts are unknown.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.