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For Kim's influential sister, a “new future” could open up between North Korea and Japan

For Kim's influential sister, a “new future” could open up between North Korea and Japan

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un confirmed on Thursday that her country is ready to improve its relations with Japan, and even hinted at a possible future invitation to Pyongyang from its prime minister.

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Kim Yo Jong's comments come after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said last week that he felt a “strong need” to change the current state of relations between Tokyo and North Korea.

She said in a statement: “I believe there would be no reason not to regard his recent speech as positive, if it was driven by his true intention to courageously free himself from the shackles of the past.” Korean News Agency KCNA.

For Kim Yo Jong, North Korea and Japan “can open a new future together” depending on the actions the latter takes, especially if it can turn the page on the long-standing problem of the kidnapping of Japanese citizens by North Koreans in North Korea. The seventies and eighties.

She added: “There will be no reason not to rapprochement between the two countries, and the day of the Prime Minister's visit to Pyongyang may come.”

These kidnappings remain an important and emotional issue in Japan.

North Korea admitted in 2002 to sending agents to kidnap 13 Japanese people in the 1970s and 1980s and forcing them to train its spies in Japanese language and customs.

But suspicions remain in Japan that there are many more kidnappings than officially recognized.

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In a speech to the UN General Assembly last year, Kishida expressed his desire to meet the North Korean leader “without any conditions,” saying his country was ready to resolve all issues, including the kidnapping issue.

While head of the Japanese government, Junichiro Koizumi made a historic visit to Pyongyang in 2002, where he met with Kim Jong-un's father, Kim Jong-il, and paved the way for normalization of relations with the prospect of economic aid.

This trip led to the return of five Japanese nationals from North Korea, followed by a subsequent trip by Koizumi. But this diplomatic process ended quickly, especially since Tokyo was concerned that North Korea was not playing fair in the thorny issue of kidnapping victims.