Japan lobbies U.S. for abduction and missile preconditions ahead of U.S.-N.Korea summit

아베, 북한 문제 부각... "일, 미국에 일본인 납치문제 해결요청"

Japan appears to feel left out of the work being done by South Korea and the U.S. to denuclearize North Korea.
And ahead of the summit in May between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, Tokyo has asked that Washington set out certain preconditions for those talks.
Those are that the North abandon its mid-range missiles... and that the talks resolve the issue of the Japanese nationals abducted by the regime in the 70s and 80s.
Lee Seung-jae reports.
Japan appears to be on the sidelines as South Korea and the United States work hand-in-hand,... planning their respective summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
And while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took time over the weekend to meet with former U.S. President Barack Obama during his trip to the country,... the Japanese government continues to lobby the Trump administration to ensure there are preconditions ahead of the U.S.-North Korea summit.
The preconditions include a promise from Pyongyang to resolve the long-running abduction issue and to abandon their mid-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono made the request in separate talks in Washington earlier this month with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Mike Pompeo, CIA director and President Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.
According to Japanese officials, a number of its citizens were abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and the 1980s,... and they are seeking U.S. help in bringing them home.
North Korea agreed with Japan in 2014 to reinvestigate the abductions, but the agreement quickly fell apart.
However, Abe has more problems domestically,... as protesters took to the streets of Tokyo over the weekend,... demanding he resign amid a widening cronyism scandal.
Hundreds of demonstrators turned out on Sunday,... carrying banners which read "Go to jail, Abe ',... with one sign even depicting Abe as a prisoner, in a black-and-white striped uniform.
The protest comes amid claims Abe was involved in the sale of state-owned land at a huge discount to a nationalist school operator,... which his wife also has ties to.
The protestors also demonstrated against Abe's decision to revise the country's post-war pacifist constitution as critics fear the revision could pave the way for the Japanese military to play a bigger role overseas.
With the inter-Korean summit set for the end of April,... and the U.S.-North Korea summit scheduled for some time in May,... Japan finds itself less involved in East Asia issues,... with Abe's ongoing domestic problems,.. and his tanking approval ratings.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.

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