The Japanese government will invite North Korean officials for talks about reinvestigating the North's bizarre campaign in the 1970s and 80s to abduct Japanese citizens.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Monday said Japan will "invite North Korean officials to Japan" and "seek more information about Pyongyang's promised reinvestigation" of the whereabouts of Japanese nationals it abducted decades ago.
The abductions are a highly emotive issue in Japan.
Talks in Tokyo would mean lifting an entry ban on North Korean officials imposed over the North's nuclear and missile development in 2006.
Kyodo News reported that the next meeting will probably involve fairly senior officials and take place in June.
Song Il-ho, the North Korean chief negotiator in talks with Japan, told reporters on Monday, "We've never turned down an invitation from Japan."