Japan protests North Korean doubts on talk

TOKYO - Japan rapped North Korea on Friday for accusing it of jeopardizing talks that Tokyo hopes will lead to the truth about past kidnappings.

The Japanese protest was lodged through embassy channels in Beijing. Tokyo also pressed Pyongyang to deliver the initial findings of a new probe into the abductions and other missing-persons cases.

North Korea is upset that Japanese law enforcement officials searched the home of the head of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, which serves as Pyongyang's informal embassy here, in connection with a suspected mushroom-smuggling ring.

The North told Japan that it is hard to hold bilateral talks under the circumstances.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the North Korean statement "unacceptable" in a meeting with relatives of abduction victims recognised by the government.

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