N. Korea urges Japan to settle past, does not refer to abductions

North Korea on Monday urged Japan to apologize and provide compensation for the suffering of Korean people from its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, however, did not refer to the issue of North Korea's abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, which Pyongyang claims has been settled.

"Japan should make an unconditional and thorough-going apology and reparation to Korea and other Asian countries upon which it inflicted huge damage during its past war and colonial rule over them," the paper of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea said in an article.

"Absurd sophism distorting and whitewashing the past crimes is being heard throughout Japan," said the article carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. "And those in power are taking the lead in it."

The paper ran the article after Isao Iijima, an adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, paid a four-day unannounced visit to Pyongyang through Friday, during which he talked with North Korean officials on bilateral issues including the abduction issue, which remains a key obstacle to normalizing relations between the two countries.