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Japan gov’t spokesman Suga to visit U.S. to raise abduction issue

TOKYO — Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Thursday he will make a four-day trip to the United States from May 9 to seek cooperation in the pursuit of a settlement on the issue of North Korea’s past abductions of Japanese nationals.


The top government spokesman, who is also minister in charge of the abduction issue, said arrangements are being made for him to meet with high-ranking U.S. officials in Washington, including Vice President Mike Pence.


He also said he wants to discuss the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, including a planned relocation of a key American base within Okinawa, as his portfolio covers Tokyo’s efforts to alleviate base-hosting burdens on the southern island prefecture.


Suga will also travel to New York to attend a symposium at the U.N. headquarters to seek international cooperation over the abduction issue dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.


It will be a rare overseas trip for the top government spokesman who is also tasked with crisis management for the entire government. He last visited Guam in 2015 after assuming the current post in 2012.

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