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INTRO: Japan and North Korea will reopen talks 
Tuesday in Tokyo on normalizing relations. As V-
O-A's Amy Bickers reports from Tokyo, a 
successful outcome hinges on several thorny 
issues that have been unresolved for years.
TEXT: Tuesday marks the start of the 10th round of 
negotiations between Tokyo and Pyongyang on 
establishing formal ties. 
/// OPT /// In April, the two governments had 
their first encounter in more than seven years 
when they met in the North Korean capital. A 
second round of talks, which had been scheduled 
to take place in May, was postponed until now. 
/// END OPT ///
For Japan, the main issue is the alleged 
abduction of Japanese people by North Korea. 
Tokyo says 10 people were kidnapped in the 1970s 
and 1980s to teach Japanese language and customs 
to North Korean spies. 
So far, North Korea has said only that it will 
take appropriate steps if any missing Japanese 
are found. Japan maintains that Pyongyang must 
take further action if it ever hopes to receive a 
formal apology from Tokyo because of its wartime 
occupation of the Korean peninsula.  North Korea 
is demanding compensation, as well as an apology, 
for Japan's sometimes brutal colonial rule which 
lasted from 1910 to 1945.
These unresolved issues have stalled previous 
negotiations between the two Northeast Asian 
At last month's Association of Southeast Asian 
Nations meeting in Bangkok, Japanese Foreign 
Minister Yohei Kono and his North Korean 
counterpart, Paek Nam Sun, held their nations' 
first talks at the foreign ministerial
level. They decided to resume the normalization 
talks and agreed to other measures to build-up 
Analysts say this round of talks is unlikely to 
lead to a concrete agreement. They see it more as 
a step toward building mutual confidence and 
trust.  The talks will take place on Tuesday and 
Thursday, with the Pyongyang negotiating team 
scheduled to return home on Friday.  North Korea, 
which previously shunned international contact, 
has been in the process of reaching out to other 
nations and has recently established diplomatic 
ties with Italy, Australia, Brunei and the 
Philippines. However, setting up ties with Japan 
will require both countries to clear some steep 
obstacles. (SIGNED)
21-Aug-2000 07:55 AM EDT (21-Aug-2000 1155 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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