Abe, who is eager to resolve the long-standing abduction issue, is exploring summit talks with Kim as the North Korean leader moves to build closer ties with the leaders of South Korea, China and the United States.
The Catholic church estimated that there were around 55,000 followers of the Catholic religion in North Korea when the Korean War broke out in 1950, but that figure is believed to have dwindled to a maximum of 4,000.
As for Japan's motive for hosting the planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the daily said Japan is likely seeking to avoid being kept from being involved in intensifying dialogue regarding the Korean Peninsula.
U.S. secretary of state Michael Pompeo came away from meetings Sunday in North Korea without a date for another meeting or news on when key denuclearization milestones might take place.
Kim Il Guk, North Korea's minister of Physical Culture and Sports, said that Tuesday's game would "contribute to deepening the friendship and solidarity" between Beijing and Pyongyang, according to a North Korean state media.
"No matter the substantive disagreement between the two sides, I think Seoul and Washington will move quickly to paper over his comments and maintain a facade of alignment", said Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. diplomat who worked on North Korea policy. -North Korea summit soon but didn't seem to have made much progress in steps to make the North abandon its nuclear weapons, Asahi Shimbun reported, citing an anonymous USA official.
After Trump and Kim met in Singapore for a summit June 12, Rodman said he did not want any credit for helping to bring the two nations together.
The South Korean foreign ministry also officially denied that the government was reviewing the matter.
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Kang's comments drew an angry reaction from conservative opposition lawmakers.
But the removal of such sanctions wouldn't be enough to get the tours back on, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a policy adviser to Moon.
South Korea's foreign minister said that Seoul is considering lifting some of its unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang to create more momentum for diplomacy aimed at improving relations and defusing the nuclear crisis.
Despite some cross-border exchanges this year, the main elements of the sanctions, such as a ban on trade and investment, remain valid, overlapping with the UN-led punishments of Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile programmes.
As part of the agreements reached during Moon and Kim's meetings, a liaison office between the countries opened in Kaesong last month. South Korea is providing electricity to the liaison office, but not to the town's residents.
Seoul shut down the Kaesong factory park in February 2016 in retaliation of a North Korean nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
Kang also admitted USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo had been "discontent" with a military agreement between with two Koreas, saying he was not briefed sufficiently.