Abe Gearing Up for Talks with N. Korea on Abductions


Tokyo, Sept. 8 (Jiji Press)--In line with the upcoming cabinet reshuffle, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to strengthen the hand of his office in efforts to resolve North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals, according to informed sources.

In the reshuffle, set for Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is expected to retain his concurrent post of minister for the abduction issue.

Also, Abe is arranging to appoint Shigeru Kitamura, director of cabinet intelligence, as head of the secretariat at the National Security Council, a key post in the diplomacy of the prime minister's office. Kitamura reportedly held secret talks with North Korea last year.

At a news conference on Aug. 26 after a Group of Seven summit in France, Abe said he had secured the support of all other G-7 leaders for Japanese efforts to resolve the abduction issue. "We will seize every opportunity to act aggressively," he said.

Abe's greater emphasis on the resolution of the abduction issue reflects the impasse in Japan's negotiations with Russia to settle their decades-old territorial dispute.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press