Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu says the government will not rule out providing humanitarian aid to North Korea as a way to bring back all the Japanese nationals abducted to the North decades ago.
Matsuno also serves as the abductions issue minister. He was commenting on Monday on a new message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that was released by a group of abductees' relatives on Sunday.
The message says the group will not oppose Japan's humanitarian assistance if Pyongyang allows all the abductees to return to Japan while relatives of their parents' generation are still alive.
This is the first time the group has mentioned humanitarian aid in a message to the North Korean leader.
Matsuno said the statement reflects the strong wish of the group members to be reunited with their loved ones as soon as possible.
He said the government will continue to study all possible options, including humanitarian assistance, to resolve the issue.
He said that will be done from the viewpoint of what will be the most effective way to comprehensively resolve the pending issues, from the abductions to North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs.