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Japan hopes North Korea solves abduction mystery

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TOKYO — Japan and North Korea appear to be on the verge of a breakthrough on a bizarre legacy of the Cold War, a secret, government-ordered program that led to the abduction of more than a dozen and possibly several hundred Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 80s by North Korean infiltrators and spies.

After three days of talks in Stockholm last week, North Korea agreed to open a new investigation into the abductions, the biggest step forward Tokyo and Pyongyang have made in years. Questions over the fate of the abductees — some believed to still be alive — have kept relations in a deep freeze.

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