N. Korea to halt probe into Japanese abductions

TOKYO • North Korea has declared void an agreement to reopen a probe into the fate of abducted Japanese citizens after Japan imposed sanctions following Pyongyang's rocket launch, Asahi newspaper reported.

North Korea will disband a committee set up in 2014 to look into the whereabouts of the abductees, the paper said yesterday, citing media reports from the country.

Japan said last Wednesday it was imposing sanctions on North Korea after a satellite launch seen by Washington and its allies, including Tokyo, as a cover for the development of ballistic missile technology that could be used to deliver a nuclear weapon.

Pyongyang admitted in 2002 to kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens decades ago. Five have returned to Japan, but Tokyo wants to know the fate of the remaining eight, who Pyongyang has said are dead.

Japan eased some sanctions on North Korea in July 2014 in return for the North reopening its probe into the abductions, but little progress has been made.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 14, 2016, with the headline 'N. Korea to halt probe into Japanese abductions'. Print Edition | Subscribe