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The Japanese government plans to explore the possibility of a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as it considers adopting a new way of dealing with the North, government sources said Tuesday.

The decision came after Abe and other officials were briefed by Suh Hoon, one of the South Korean envoys who spoke with Kim in breakthrough talks in Pyongyang last week.

While the Abe administration has long advocated a cautious stance in holding dialogue with North Korea, it now anticipates there is a fresh chance to make progress toward resolving the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, the sources said.

“If we’re to resolve the abduction issue, direct dialogue with the top — Mr. Kim Jong Un — is essential,” a source at Abe’s office said.

A high-ranking government official also expressed expectations for a Tokyo-Pyongyang summit. “The issues of (North Korea’s) nuclear and missile will be discussed at a summit between the United States and North Korea. Japan and North Korea can discuss (at a summit) the abduction issue and the normalization of bilateral ties,” the official told reporters.

The last time Japanese and North Korean leaders met was in 2004, when then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met Kim’s father Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang. Read more

Read also: Abe tells S Korea envoy Japan wants abduction issue resolved in N Korea talks

The Japanese government plans to explore the possibility of a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as it considers adopting a new way of dealing with the North, government sources said Tuesday.

The Japanese government plans to explore the possibility of a summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as it considers adopting a new way of dealing with the North, government sources said Tuesday.