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Japan to lift some sanctions on North Korea

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TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took a tentative step toward improved relations with North Korea today by announcing his government will lift some of its sanctions in response to the North’s decision to re-open a probe into the fate of at least a dozen Japanese believed to have been abducted by North Korean agents decades ago.

Abe said he was satisfied that a North Korean investigation committee has the mandate to carry out a serious investigation into the abductions, though previous deals with the North have fallen through. Japan will continue to abide by U.N. sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

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