AP Newswire

Stateside World Business Stocks Technology Sports Weather
Entertainment Multimedia Health Science Politics Travel Offbeat
Mar 30, 12:21 AM EDT

Japan, NKorea hold 1st senior talks in 16 months

World Video
Archery on horseback still draws crowd
Ainu Rebels reclaim cultural pride
Japanese defend whaling tradition
Japan deals with 'Minimata Disease'
Latest News
Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM

Obama: US-Japan treaty applies to disputed islands

Japan, US struggle to bridge gap on freer trade

Japan PM sends offering to war shrine

Troubled history fuels Japan-China tension

Buy AP Photo Reprints
Swift negotiations free U.S. journalists
Timeline of U.S.-North Korea relations
Timeline of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs
Depth of Field: North Korea
A look at Kim Jong Il
Truth emerges about Kim Soo-im
Commission: U.S. military killed Korean refugees
South Koreans Protest U.S. Beef Accord
S. Korea Women Keep Diving Tradition Alive
Bittersweet Homecoming: Koreans Return Home After 68 Years in Russia
Latest News
SKorea ferry toll hits 150 as search gets tougher

Acts of bravery emerge from pilloried ship crew

Profiles of some of SKorean ferry's dead, missing

SKorea: Ferry didn't take hard turn before sinking

SKorean president: Ferry crew actions 'murderous'

BEIJING (AP) -- Japan and North Korea started high-level government talks on Sunday for the first time in more than a year that were expected to focus on abductions of Japanese by North Korea decades ago.

The fate of at least a dozen people who Japan says were abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s is likely to top the agenda of the two-day talks in Beijing.

Japan and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations. They held talks in 2012 during a brief warming of relations, but those ended after North Korea launched a rocket in December of that year.

The two countries agreed to resume the talks after an informal gathering earlier this month between Japanese and North Korean foreign ministry officials in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang.

On Sunday, North Korea's ambassador, Song Il Ho, met at the country's embassy in Beijing with the Japanese delegation led by Junichi Ihara, director general for Asian and Oceanic Affairs at the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

North Korea admitted in 2002 that its agents kidnapped more than a dozen Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s. It allowed five of them to return to Japan, but said the others were either dead or had not been abducted to begin with. Japan believes there could be other Japanese abductees still alive in the North.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.