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Kim Jong Un’s sister says Japan’s Kishida trying to meet with Kim

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Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is pressing ahead with his efforts to arrange a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Kim’s influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, said on Monday in a statement.

Kishida has conveyed his intention to meet the North Korean leader as soon as possible, the statement said.

Kim’s sister did not say through which channel the proposal had been made to the North Korean leadership. However, Kim Yo Jong was quoted by state media as saying that Kishida should not think that such a summit meeting could be accepted immediately.

She had discussed a visit by Kishida to Pyongyang in February.

Kishida has been seeking a meeting with the ruler of the largely isolated neighbouring country for some time. According to the Japanese news agency Kyodo, Kishida emphasized in parliament on Monday that it was important to ensure the return of Japanese abductees in a meeting with Kim.

In the 1970s and 1980s, communist-ruled North Korea abducted Japanese citizens who were supposed to teach Pyongyang’s spies Japanese.

The leadership in Pyongyang confessed to having abducted 13 people. Five of them were able to return home to Japan. North Korea claimed that the eight other Japanese had died and that there had been no further abductees.

This was the end of the matter for North Korea, but Tokyo assumes that 17 compatriots were abducted and is demanding a full investigation.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a press conference. Daniel Karmann/dpa

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a press conference. Daniel Karmann/dpa

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