Japan last week announced the two sides had agreed to hold senior working-level talks on "a wide range of issues" in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator Thursday and Friday. Kyodo said the thorny issue of the abduction could be on the agenda as it remains a major obstacle to normalizing relations between the two countries.
The issue relates to the kidnapping of Japanese nationals from Japan by North Korean agents during the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the nationals were released in 2002, but since then North Korea has not acknowledged holding any more despite Japanese claims.
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