Japan easing sanctions on N. Korea in exchange for abductee probeUpdated: 2014-07-04 06:28:26 (KST)
Following months of government-level talks, and an agreement made back in May
Japan will ease some sanctions on North Korea.
This in return for Pyongyang's commitment to re-investigate the abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970 and '80s.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not elaborate on which sanctions will be lifted, but told reporters Thursday that this\ was merely the beginning of more to come.
"Under the principle of action being repaid with action, I want to lift part of the sanctions Japan has imposed. However this is just the start."
The bilateral sanctions that Japan COULD be lifting
include travel bans to and from Pyongyang, restrictions on how much money can be sent or brought into the communist state, and port calls by North Korean ships to Japan.
In 2002, North Korea admitted to abducting 13 Japanese citizens in the '70s and '80s to help train their spies.
[FILE, 2002]Pyongyang called the case closed, after returning five people back to Japan, and declaring that the eight others were dead.
However, Japan has since disputed that, and believes even more people were kidnapped.
"The abductee issue is a very serious human rights issue and something specific to our country."
Now, in 2014, North Korea says it is launching a new committee to look into the case, and according to the Sankei newspaper, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will oversee it.
"We have been informed that North Korea has completed its preparations and is ready to begin, so we think they indeed will do so."
Connie Lee, Arirang News.
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