15 Aug 2012

Japan, North Korea to hold talks

5:40 am on 15 August 2012

Japan says it will hold talks with North Korea for the first time in four years, seeking to retrieve the remains of thousands of Japanese people who died in the closing days of the WWII.

About 34,600 Japanese died in what is now North Korea. Japan has collected the remains of about 13,000 people so far.

Government representatives will meet in Beijing on 29 August to discuss visits by Japanese to their relatives' burial sites in North Korea.

Tokyo also wants to make some progress on the issue of Pyongyang's past abductions of Japanese nationals.

The talks will be the first under North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un.