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North Korea Halts Probe Into Japanese Abductees

FILE - Eriko Yamatani, Japanese minister in charge of abductions, speaks during an interview with journalists at her office in Tokyo, Sept. 17, 2014.

Japan is frustrated with North Korea's decision dismissing an investigation into its abductions of Japanese citizens decades ago.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday it is "extremely regrettable" that North Korea has decided to discard the investigation.

Pyongyang opted to quash the probe Friday after fresh sanctions were imposed by Tokyo over North Korea's recent nuclear and long-range rocket tests.

In 2002, North Korea admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s to train spies in the Japanese language and culture. Five were allowed to return home in 2002. North Korea said the remaining eight had died, but did not provide any proof.

Japan believes hundreds more of its citizens were abducted and some may still be alive.