A Japanese civilian delegation visited Pyongyang to deliver Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's proposal of an unconditional summit. North Korea rejected the proposal, saying that it is absurd for Japan to claim that the meeting would be "unconditional", when the country is obviously going to bring up the kidnapping of Japanese nationals and nuclear and missile issues.
A Japanese civilian delegation is returning home to Tokyo. Shingo Kanemaru, the son of former deputy prime minister Shin Kanemaru, led the 60-member delegation. During the group's visit to North Korea, he met with Ryu Myong-son, vice minister of international affairs for the Workers' Party and Song Il-ho, North Korean official in charge of normalization of ties with Japan. These meetings could show how North Korea would respond to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's proposal of an "unconditional Pyongyang-Tokyo summit."
[Soundbite] SHINGO KANEMARU(CHIEF, JAPANESE CIVILIAN DELEGATION) : "They said the summit would not be unconditional because Japan would surely bring up kidnapping, nuclear program, and missile issues."
Ambassador Song Il-ho reportedly pointed out that Abe's use of the term "unconditional dialogue" is contradictory, because it is obvious which issues Japan would bring up at the summit. It appears the regime has essentially rejected that proposal. Kanemaru added that Song made it clear that no diplomatic discussion took place between the two sides.
[Soundbite] SHINGO KANEMARU(CHIEF, JAPANESE CIVILIAN DELEGATION) : "I don't know anything about the Japanese government's actions. But Ambassador Song clearly said that there were no contacts between the two sides."
North Korean officials reportedly said they're keeping a close watch on the discrimination of Koreans in Japan and emphasized that sincere apology and compensation of past atrocities is necessary to normalize bilateral relations. Kanemaru said that he is not obligated to report Pyongyang's reaction to the Ja