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International relations

Japan drops call to 'maximize pressure' on North Korea

Tokyo softens tone in diplomatic report as it seeks dialogue on abductions

Japan no longer describes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's weapons programs as a "grave and imminent threat."   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan has eliminated a call to "maximize pressure on North Korea by all available means" from its annual foreign policy report, Foreign Minister Taro Kono announced on Tuesday.

The softer tone suggests that, to an extent, Tokyo is willing to make concessions to resolve the North's past abductions of Japanese citizens -- long a top priority for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In March, for the first time in 11 years, Japan also refrained from submitting a resolution to the United Nations condemning North Korean human rights abuses, apparently in a bid for dialogue with Pyongyang.

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