Senior diplomats from North Korea and Japan will meet in Sweden next week as Tokyo seeks to accelerate discussions on the whereabouts of Japanese nationals kidnapped by the North decades ago.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that the three-day, government-level talks will be held from next Monday in Stockholm.
It will follow up on the two countries' first talks in more than a year in March.
While the North's nuclear weapons program will be discussed, the Japanese abductee issue will top the agenda.
North Korea admitted more than a decade ago that it had kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s.
Only five abductees were returned, and the North claims the others have since passed away.
Japan believes the number of people abducted was much higher.