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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday to make a political decision to settle the long-stalled issue of Pyongyang's past abductions of Japanese nationals.
"As a leader of the new times, the right thing can be done under his leadership," Abe said on a TV program, noting that Kim had nothing to do with the abductions by North Korean agents that took place in the 1970s and 1980s.
Keen to make headway on the abduction issue, the prime minister said he sees holding summit talks to settle the issue as "one option," but there would be "no sense in holding summit talks" without making any progress on the issue.
The abduction issue remains a key stumbling block for Japan and North Korea to normalize diplomatic relations.
No tangible progress has been seen on the issue since five Japanese abductees were repatriated to Japan from North Korea in 2002. Pyongyang has yet to reinvestigate the abduction cases as promised.