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Trump-Kim Summit

Kim signals possible shift on Japanese abductees in Trump meeting

North Korean leader did not say the issue had been settled

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump on Nov. 6, 2017, with families of Japanese victims abducted by North Korea. Pyongyang's official stance is the issue has been resolved.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have hinted at a shift in his position regarding Japanese citizens his country abducted decades ago during his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

North Korea officially maintains that the issue has already been resolved. But Kim did not reiterate this position to Trump, Koichi Hagiuda, executive active secretary-general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters on Wednesday following a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump said he raised this issue during the summit, but did not publicly reveal Kim's response. The American leader spoke on the phone afterward with Abe. The Japanese government is trying to determine whether Kim's silence on Tuesday represents an actual change.

"Until now, they have said in public that the issue is resolved," Hagiuda said. "That he did not have that kind of response is a big step forward for us." 

"The prime minister said he wanted to do everything he can to bring home every Japanese citizen abducted by North Korea and reunite them with their families," Hagiuda added.

"The North Korean issue is not simple enough that it can be resolved with one summit," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday in a separate news conference. But he said the meeting between Trump and Kim helped ease concerns that the North could fire a missile at Japan at any time.

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