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Japan to closely monitor N. Korean investigation

Japanese government officials will closely monitor North Korea's investigation of missing Japanese nationals. This will include dispatching officials to the North.

North Korea announced on Friday that it launched a special committee to investigate the fate of abductees and other Japanese missing and thought to be in the North.

The North's envoy for normalizing relations with Japan, Son Il Ho, told reporters that the committee has been granted the strongest-ever authority to investigate all government institutions.

Following the announcement, the Japanese government partially lifted sanctions imposed on the North.

Government officials will carefully determine how the North conducts its investigation in preparation for its first report on the issue to be released sometime between the end of the summer and beginning of fall.

They will specifically set up communication channels with North Korea. An investigation team made up of government officials will be formed for travel to the North.

Under an agreement reached in May between North Korean and Japanese officials in Stockholm, the Japanese team will visit the North for interviews with relevant sources and pertinent locations.

Jul. 4, 2014 - Updated 18:24 UTC