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Japan: No N. Korea Aid Until Abduction Issue Resolved

FILE - Japan's Minister in Charge of North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals Keiji Furuya.
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.
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    Jee Abbey Lee

    Jee Abbey Lee is a veteran broadcast journalist with more than 10 years of experience in TV, radio, and the web. She serves as Voice of America's social media correspondent and is an expert of millennial lifestyle. 

    Lee received her graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to joining VOA, she worked at the Seoul bureau of CNN Travel and served as the chief Bank of Korea correspondent for Arirang TV.