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North Korea Demands Apology from Japan over Alleged Spy Case

Date Posted: 2000-03-17

On Monday, March 13th, Communist North Korea called on the Government of Japan to apologize over the case of a former Japanese journalist it has arrested for alleged spying.

Red Cross officials from both nations met in the Chinese capital Beijing to discuss humanitarian issues between the two, seen as a key step in bilateral talks aimed at normalizing diplomatic ties between Japan and North Korea. The talks were expected to include allegations from Tokyo that North Korean agents kidnapped Japanese citizens, an accusation which Pyongyang vehemently denies.

North Korean authorities are insisting that Takashi Sugishima, a former reporter for the Japanese economic daily, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, who was detained by North Korea late last year, had been engaged in espionage. But the Foreign Ministry of Japan has repeatedly denied Sugishima that was a spy.

Japan established diplomatic ties with capitalist South Korea in 1965 but it has yet to do so with the Communist North. However, normalization talks have been going on since early 1991, in spite of the occasional bickering over spy and abduction allegations.

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