Wrestler-turned-lawmaker Inoki to visit Pyongyang

Wrestler-turned-lawmaker Antonio Inoki will visit Pyongyang, possibly on Thursday, to attend an official North Korean event commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War truce, sources close to Japan-North Korea relations said Wednesday.

It is possible that Inoki, a Japan Restoration Party member who was elected to the upper house Sunday, will hold talks with senior North Korean government or party officials, the sources said.

Inoki held talks with Kim Yong Il, secretary of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, who doubles as director of the party's International Department, when he traveled to Pyongyang in April 2012 to attend an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of former North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.

Inoki also met with Chang Song Taek, uncle and a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In announcing his candidacy for the House of Councillors election, Inoki expressed his readiness to play a role in resolving the issue of North Korea's past abductions of Japanese nationals, saying the issue "cannot be resolved without talks and only through applying sanctions."