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Reports: Japan Seeking Direct Talks Between PM Abe, N. Korea's Kim


FILE - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers remarks to families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, in front of abduction awareness posters during an event in Tokyo, Japan, April 22, 2018.

Japanese news outlets say officials are seeking to arrange a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

According to government sources, expectations were raised after Kim told U.S. President Donald Trump during their meeting Tuesday in Singapore he is willing to hold talks with Abe.

The reports say Japanese officials plan to discuss the summit with their North Korean counterparts at a security conference this week in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The summit could either take place in Pyongyang in August, or on the sidelines of a regional economic forum in Vladivostok, Russia, in September.

It would be the first Japan-North Korea summit since 2004.

Abe will use the possible summit to confront Kim on the long-simmering issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the North in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies. Tokyo says 17 of its citizens were kidnapped, but suspects dozens more were taken.

Five abductees were repatriated in 2002. The North says eight of the abductees have died, while the other four never entered the country.

Abe vowed to directly confront North Korea to resolve the issue during a meeting Thursday with the families of abductees.

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