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Koizumi Considering Call on North Korea Around May 23

Posted May. 09, 2004 20:41,   


The Sankei Shimbun reported on May 9 that Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is considering visiting Pyongyang around May 23 for the return of those who have been kidnapped by North Korea.

It quoted a source from the Japanese government who said that both the parties would meet this week and adjust the visiting schedule.

“North Korea wants both decency and benefit,” said the source from Japanese government, adding, “Koizumi approved the plan of supporting North Korea with medicine and food in case the return of Japanese families remaining in North Korea is resolved.”

Nihon Keizai Shimbun also reported on the same day that Prime Minister Koizumi directed officials of foreign affairs, including Hitoshi Danaka, who had come back from Beijing where he met with North Korean officials, to prepare for his visit to North Korea.

Koizumi has had a summit talk in North Korea in September 2002.

According to Nihon Keizai Shimbun, however, Koizumi’s call on North Korea will not be easy since North Korea’s reaction is unknown yet, and because it is not favorable toward Koizumi’s visit.

Meanwhile, the Japanese press such as the Asahi Shimbun conveyed the same day that Chinese President Hu Jintao, who was paid a courtesy visit by a group of Japanese National Diet members, said that the settlement of abduction issue was near.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com