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Japan's Suga says he's open to meeting with Kim Yo Jong during Olympics

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday he seeks to find a solution to the issue of Japanese citizens abducted to North Korea. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c072275a28344d991e53fd794e250b1d/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday he seeks to find a solution to the issue of Japanese citizens abducted to North Korea. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

March 26 (UPI) -- Japan's prime minister did not rule out a meeting with North Korea's Kim Yo Jong if she chooses to attend the Tokyo Olympics, according to a Japanese press report.

Yoshihide Suga said Friday at a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councilors that he would consider "all possibilities" to resolve the issue of abducted Japanese citizens.

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Suga was responding to a lawmaker who inquired about a potential Kim visit to Japan during the Summer Games, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.

"If it helps solve the issue of abductions, I will be open to all possibilities and respond accordingly," Suga said after describing North Korea's short-range missile launches as "unacceptable."

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The Japanese government recognizes at least a dozen abductees. North Korea has said all living abductees were returned to Japan.

Suga has previously addressed a potential North Korean visit to Japan.

In November, the prime minister said a Kim Jong Un visit to the Olympics would be a "good opportunity" and a six-party talks summit involving the leaders of the United States, China, South and North Korea, as well as Russia, would be a "very important opportunity for diplomacy."

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Suga at the time was fielding questions from local politicians, who were inquiring whether he would be willing to hold talks with Kim if the North Korean leader "visited Japan during the Tokyo Olympics."

Suga also confirmed he plans to invite U.S. President Joe Biden to the Olympics, Kyodo News reported Friday.

Biden and Suga are expected to hold their first summit in Washington in April.

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North Korea's nuclear weapons program is expected to be on top of the summit agenda. The two leaders could be issuing a joint statement calling for the "complete denuclearization" of the Kim Jong Un regime, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.

Other bilateral issues of concern include maritime security around the Japan-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, and U.S.-Japan solidarity in realizing a "free and open Indo-Pacific," reports said.

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