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TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that North Korea had agreed to reinvestigate its past abductions of Japanese nationals.

The announcement came after diplomatic talks this week in Stockholm between Japan and North Korea.

Tokyo said it would lift some sanctions on North Korea once Pyongyang launches its reinvestigation and that it would supply humanitarian assistance.

Abe’s government is eager to make progress on the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Japan lists 17 nationals kidnapped by North Korea. Five were returned alive in 2002.

Pyongyang has contended that eight have died and four others never entered the country, and it previously said repeatedly that it considers the issue resolved.

 Flickr via Yoshikazu Tsuno

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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