The government intends to dispatch Japanese experts to North Korea to confirm that Pyongyang's investigations into abducted Japanese nationals are carried out effectively.
Though North Korea has agreed to fully investigate the abductions of Japanese nationals, including missing people suspected of having been abducted, it has repeatedly failed to reciprocate Japan's sincere approach to the issue.
The Japanese government will therefore dispatch experts as needed from relevant organisations, such as the National Police Agency, to verify that Pyongyang's investigations are conducted appropriately.
At a press conference Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that the Japanese government will ask North Korea to present the results of its investigations within a year.
The written agreement between the Japanese and North Korean governments stipulates that North Korea will give its investigative committee special authority for the purpose of its inquiries.
It also stipulates that "Japanese officials will be permitted to stay in North Korea, conduct interviews with individuals concerned and visit related locations."
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference Friday: "The important point is that practical measures are clearly confirmed by the written document. Through such mechanisms, we expect the special investigation committee to present tangible results."
In the past, there have been repeated cases of flawed handling of investigations related to abduction victims by North Korea. For example, in 2004 North Korea presented what it claimed were remains of Megumi Yokota, as evidence of her death, but DNA analysis by Japanese authorities later showed they were from a different person.
The Japanese government is considering the dispatch of its own experts to objectively examine the reliability of the results from North Korea's investigations.
Some in the Japanese government once thought officials from the Japanese government might participate in North Korea's investigations themselves.
That plan was dropped, however, as "North Korea might shift responsibility onto Japan," according to a government source.