Sunday’s Asahi, Yomiuri, and Mainichi reported that Prime Minister Abe indicated on Saturday that Japan would be willing to shoulder some of the cost of North Korea’s denuclearization under an international framework. Abe reportedly said on a TV program: “Since Japan and other nations would be able to enjoy peace if the nuclear threat were removed, it makes sense for us to shoulder the costs. For example, we could create a new organization as a way to move forward on the issue.” Abe also stressed that this would not be tantamount to directly funding North Korea since economic assistance would be offered “after comprehensively resolving the nuclear, missile, and abduction issues and normalizing diplomatic relations.”
Sunday’s Nikkei spotlighted his separate TV remark voicing a positive stance toward holding a summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un. He said: “A big decision by Chairman Kim is necessary” to resolve the abduction issue. He also stated: “Ultimately, Kim and I will have to meet. I want to foster a relationship of trust with North Korea.” The paper wrote that Abe reiterated that a Japan-DPRK summit would be premised on the resolution of the abduction issue.
Today’s papers focused on press remarks made yesterday by senior GOJ officials, including Foreign Minister Kono, who indicated that it is unlikely that a summit will be held between PM Abe and Kim Jong Un at an early date. Kono said on NHK: “Such a summit should be held only when it is certain that some sort of accomplishment will come out of it. No concrete timeframe has emerged yet.” On a commercial TV news show, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Nishimura dismissed growing speculation about the possibility of a Japan-DPRK summit being held in August or September.