Kim Jong Un Seeks Peace With Japan After Years Of Strain

According to reports, North Korea recently announced that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had extended an invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at their earliest convenience. However, Seoul emphasized that the possibility of their first summit in nearly 20 years would hinge on Tokyo’s acceptance of Pyongyang’s weapons program and its history of kidnapping Japanese citizens.

The chances of the meeting coming to fruition diminished after Japan said it had been attempting to organize a bilateral summit but rejected North Korea’s prerequisites, calling them inappropriate.

There are no formal diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea. During the first-ever summit between Japan and North Korea in Pyongyang in 2002, five abductees were released to Japan after a meeting between then-prime minister Junichiro Koizumi and then-leader Kim Jong Il.

According to observers, Kim is looking to strengthen relations with Japan to exacerbate tensions between the US and its closest allies, while Kishida is hoping to utilize any positive developments with the abduction issue, a very personal matter for Japan, to reverse his dwindling domestic support.

North Korea permitted five Japanese citizens to return home after acknowledging in 2002 that it had kidnapped thirteen. The country claimed the other captives had perished.

Some may still be alive, according to Japan.

Kim Yo Jong, a senior official and sister of Kim Jong Un, claimed in a statement reported by state media that Japan had first requested a bilateral meeting without restrictions. She said that Pyongyang has only made clear that Tokyo will be welcomed if it is prepared to start again and isn’t stuck in its nostalgia trap. North Korea ignored Japan’s demands and said an agreement to meet was unimportant.

According to North Korea’s official media, Kim Jong Un oversaw a tank drill earlier Monday and ordered his armored forces to further up their war readiness in light of the increasing hostilities with South Korea.

South Korean authorities have hinted at the prospect of lesser provocations in border zones, notably the disputed western maritime boundary between the Koreas, which has been the scene of violent clashes in recent years, but most observers doubt Kim is planning for war.