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Politics Monitor

Japanese Prime Minister wants to meet Kim Jong-un

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has requested the holding of a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the latter’s influential sister said on Monday, while deeming this meeting unlikely without a change in policy on the side. from Tokyo.

“Fumio Kishida recently expressed his wish to meet with the chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as soon as possible,” Kim Yo-jong said in a statement released by the The official KCNA news agency.

Kishida not aware


The Japanese Prime Minister, who clarified that he was not aware of this press release, declared in Parliament that it is “important to have summit discussions with Pyongyang to resolve disputes”.

Relations between the two countries are tense due to several problems, from the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945 to the launch by Pyongyang of missiles above Japanese territory, including the kidnapping affair.

Pyongyang admitted in 2002 to the kidnapping of 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies in Japanese language and culture. A month after these confessions, five were allowed to return to Japan.

Change the relationship


Despite this historic conflict, Fumio Kishida said he wanted to change the relationship between Tokyo and the reclusive country and expressed last year his wish to meet Kim Jong-un “without conditions”, assuring during a speech to the United Nations that Japan was determined to resolve all disputes, including that of kidnappings.

In February, Kim Yo-jong, one of the regime’s most outspoken figures, suggested that it was possible that the Japanese prime minister would be invited to visit North Korea.

It is “Japan’s political decision that matters most to open a new era in relations between North Korea and Japan,” she warned on Monday, calling on Tokyo not to “interfere with the exercise of our sovereign rights.

Deep wound


Kidnappings remain a deep wound in Japan and questions persist: Tokyo has at least 17 kidnapped and suspects dozens of other disappearances of being the work of North Korean services.

Analysts say the issue could hamper progress toward a Kim-Kishida summit. The latter “must know that he cannot meet our leader just because he wants to,” said Kim Yo-jong.

“If Japan sincerely wants to improve relations and become a close neighbor to help ensure peace and stability in the region, it must have the political courage to make strategic choices consistent with its national interests,” she said. added.

Meeting in 2002


Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (2001-2006) went to Pyongyang in 2002 for a historic visit and a meeting with Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il. He then laid the foundations for a normalization of relations with the promise of economic assistance.

The summit allowed a second visit by Junichiro Koizumi but diplomatic ties were quickly severed, Tokyo doubting Pyongyang’s good faith on the subject of the kidnappings.

This article is originally published on lematin.ch

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