Sankei wrote that Shingo Kanemaru, a son of the late LDP heavyweight Shin Kanemaru who worked to improve ties between Tokyo and Pyongyang in the 1990s, spoke to reporters at Beijing Airport on his way home from Pyongyang on Thursday. Kanemaru said that North Korean Ambassador for normalizing ties with Japan Song Il Ho told him in Pyongyang on Wednesday that he doubted the sincerity of Prime Minister Abe’s statement that he is ready to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without preconditions. Song reportedly said that Abe is contradicting himself because he has also been expressing his intention to discuss abductions, nuclear, and missile issues.
NHK reported yesterday evening that Kanemaru also told reporters in Beijing yesterday that Song said that Japan needs to settle historical issues by offering an apology and compensation. Song reportedly also said that the DPRK government is not in contact with Japan on the abduction issue. NHK said this indicates North Korea still maintains that the issue has already been resolved. TV Asahi quoted Song as saying that North Korea is not at a stage where it can say whether it will agree to hold a Japan-DPRK summit.
Kyodo News also reported that according to the Kanemaru-led Japanese delegation, there has been no communication between the two governments since May when Abe began calling for a summit. Kyodo also wrote that Kanemaru told reporters Song indicated that a summit between Abe and Kim is unlikely to take place soon. Song was quoted as saying that unless the decision to exclude kindergartens run by pro-Pyongyang Korean schools from Japan’s free education system is withdrawn, it will be difficult for Japan and North Korea to improve their bilateral relations. In a separate report yesterday, NTV quoted Song as criticizing Japan’s exclusion of high schools for North Korean students, as well as child care facilities and kindergartens, from its free education system. TBS broadcast a similar report in which Song was quoted as saying that unless the issue of exclusion is addressed, bilateral relations will not move forward “even one millimeter.”