North Korea is set to launch on Friday a fresh inquiry into the fate of abductees and other missing Japanese nationals. Attention is focused on how far the panel can go into investigating a special body that carried out the abductions.
The investigative committee will have powerful authority as Japan demanded. Its members will include those in North Korea's highest guiding organ, the National Defense Commission, and those from the country's Ministry of State Security, or secret police.
The committee will have 4 subdivisions to cover different investigative areas. They are: the abductees, other missing people, those left behind during World War Two and spouses of North Koreans, and lastly the remains of those who died around the end of the war.
The subcommittee on abductions is expected to have difficulties as there is a limited amount of information on secret missions. The group that carried out the abductions may also put up resistance.
Japan plans to remove some sanctions against North Korea on Friday when Pyongyang opens the new inquiry. But North Korea may call for Japan to lift more sanctions and to offer humanitarian aid in exchange for proceeding with the investigation.
Japan and North Korea may thus have to engage in political maneuvering to compile the results of the new inquiry within one year, which is the target for both sides.
Jul. 3, 2014 - Updated 22:28 UTC