Japan, North Korea held secret talks in Mongolia in early October - reports
Senior officials from Japanese and North Korean intelligence agencies held a secret meeting in Mongolia on October 6-8, Sputnik reported citing media reports.
The Japanese side had been was represented at the talks in Ulaanbaatar by Shigeru Kitamura, the head of the Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office, and a close associate of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Kyodo news agency reported, citing informed sources.
North Korea, in its turn, dispatched a group including a senior figure from the United Front Department of the Workers' Party, according to the outlet.
"I heard they discussed how the abduction issue should be solved between Japan and North Korea," a Japanese senior government official told the agency, admitting that the meeting in the Mongolian capital took place.
According to the agency, North Korea had unofficially notified Japan that Minoru Tanaka, one of 17 nationals, believed that Tokyo to have been abducted by Pyongyang decades ago, had actually entered North Korea. Kitamura might have covered the issue of whereabouts of Tanaka and other abductees during the talks in Mongolia, the outlet suggested.
Kyodo noted that the meeting between Japanese and North Korean intelligence officials has been the first talks of this kind in around three months following Kitamura’s meeting with Kim Song Hye, the head of the United Front Department's tactical office in Vietnam in mid-July.