Two Japanese officials handling the issue of North Korean abductions of Japanese nationals are visiting Mongolia to seek cooperation from the country in resolving the matter, a Japanese government source said Wednesday.
Hideshi Mitani, former head of the secretariat of the government's headquarters on the abduction issue and now a special adviser to the Cabinet Office, and Shoichiro Ishikawa, Mitani's successor at the secretariat, have been in Ulan Bator since Tuesday and are expected to meet with Mongolian government officials, according to the source.
Mongolia has played a key role in liaising between Japan and North Korea, which have no diplomatic ties due to a host of outstanding issues, the abductions in the 1970s and 1980s being chief among them.
In March, Mongolia provided a venue for the first-ever meeting between the parents of one of the abductees, Megumi Yokota, and her daughter, who lives in North Korea.
The two officials are scheduled to return to Japan on Friday.
Ishikawa became the head of the secretariat this month. As a special adviser, Mitani has been assisting the families of those abducted by North Korea.