Asahi claimed in a front-page story that Japanese diplomats held informal talks with their North Korean counterparts in Dalian, China, in early September with the goal of pressing Pyongyang to reopen the investigation into the fate of the Japanese abductees. According to a source involved in bilateral relations, a three-member Japanese team led by a deputy director general of MOFA’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau held dialogue with DPRK diplomats on Sept. 3-4. Another source said although the Kim regime does not intend to resume the investigation, it is still willing to hold communications with Tokyo. Noting that although North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Sept. 5 right after the session, the daily asserted the U.S. did not oppose Japan’s expression of interest in holding communications with the DPRK to resolve the abduction issue.
In a separate piece, the paper said although the Abe administration has been carefully looking for opportunities to establish communications with the DPRK despite its escalated nuclear and missile provocations, the results of the alleged meeting in China were uncertain. The paper added that Kim Jong Un reportedly has little interest in Japan-DPRK relations.