Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has made a public declaration of his willingness to engage in direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, emphasising Japan’s commitment to a diplomatic approach amid mounting tensions related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. Kishida restated this offer during his address at the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring Japan’s readiness to address all outstanding issues with North Korea.
Kishida expressed, “In the spirit of opening a new chapter together, I wish to convey my unwavering determination to meet President Kim Jong Un in person, at any time, and without any preconditions.” He stressed his eagerness to conduct high-level discussions under his direct supervision, with the goal of arranging a summit meeting in the near future.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, echoed this commitment, stating that Japan seeks high-level discussions directly overseen by the prime minister to facilitate a summit meeting as soon as possible. Kishida has consistently expressed his resolve to engage with Kim without imposing any prerequisites.
It is notable that former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited Pyongyang in 2002 during his tenure, where he held talks with Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il. This diplomatic effort resulted in the return of five Japanese nationals to Japan. However, subsequent negotiations faced challenges and roadblocks.
The United States, under President Joe Biden’s administration, has also extended invitations for talks with North Korea, although North Korea has shown limited interest in these overtures. In contrast, former U.S. President Donald Trump held a historic summit with Kim Jong Un and publicly expressed admiration for him.
Kishida’s statement reflects Japan’s proactive approach to diplomatic engagement with North Korea, emphasising its commitment to seeking peaceful resolutions to regional issues. While diplomatic efforts with North Korea have often faced challenges and uncertainties, Japan continues to demonstrate its dedication to dialogue and negotiations.