DATE=8/18/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=JAPAN NORTH KOREA / SCENE SETTER (L-O) NUMBER=2-265617 BYLINE=ALISHA RYU DATELINE=HONG KONG CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The Tokyo government and Japanese media are giving conflicting reports of what concessions, if any, Japan will make to North Korea when the two sides meet next week for the second round of talks to normalize diplomatic relations. VOA's Alisha Ryu reports from our Asia News Center. TEXT: Several Japanese media, citing sources at the foreign ministry, say that the Tokyo will inform North Korea of its decision to form two working panels to investigate North Korean claims that Japan seized or destroyed numerous Korean cultural assets during its colonial occupation of the Korean peninsula. The Japan Times English-language newspaper reports that as part of the agreement, the panels will investigate how Japanese museums across the country obtained Korean art works. North Korea has demanded that Japan resolve issues stemming from Japan's colonial rule of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945. Pyongyang has repeatedly called for a package of concessions from Japan, including a written apology, monetary compensation, and an assurance of permanent residence status for North Koreans. Japanese media say Tokyo will most likely concede on the residency issue and will agree to grant North Koreans permanent residency. But a spokesman for Japan's foreign ministry told VOA that the government has not made any decisions ahead of the talks. He says what the Japanese media are reporting is pure speculation and not fact. Japan and North Korea's first attempt to establish diplomatic ties collapsed in 1992. Talks resumed again in April of this year but a second round of negotiations, set for late May, was postponed at the request of North Korea. (Signed) NEB/HK/AR/JO/KL 18-Aug-2000 08:21 AM EDT (18-Aug-2000 1221 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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