Nine Japanese nationals are in Pyongyang through next Thursday to pay their respects to relatives who died in North Korea after the Second World War.
"After a lot of efforts between the Japanese and North Korean government, our hope has finally come true."
There have been eight visits like this one since 2012, but yesterday's comes against the backdrop of a new dynamic in Sino-Japanese relations.
That is since North Korea and Japan agreed last month to re-open an investigation into the whereabouts of Japanese abductees kidnapped by the North decades ago.
Diplomats from Tokyo and Pyongyang will meet in China next week to discuss the details of a probe into the abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s.
North Korean officials are set to explain how a special committee plans to carry out its investigation.
If Japan feels the North is doing enough to re-open the probe, unilateral sanctions imposed by Tokyo on the North Korean regime could be eased, including the lifting of a ban on North Korean vessels into Japanese ports.
Interesting timing given that Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit Seoul next Thursday for a two-day state visit.
And he is not expected to stop by Pyongyang going against the tradition that Chinese leaders have made it a point to visit the North before coming to Seoul.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.
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