The Associated Press ("NORTH KOREA SAID TO SEEK RESOLVE WITH JAPAN," Tokyo, 04/07/04) reported that the DPRK wants to resolve its differences with Japan and restart talks with Tokyo on establishing diplomatic relations, a former Japanese lawmaker was quoted as saying Wednesday. Taku Yamasaki, a former national lawmaker in Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's conservative party, made the remarks while briefing Koizumi on recent meetings he held with DPRK officials in the PRC, Kyodo News reported. Yamasaki and another politician from the party went to the northern PRC city of Dailin last week on what was billed as a private diplomatic initiative to jump-start negotiations with the reclusive communist state. He told Koizumi at a dinner late Wednesday he came away from the meetings "convinced" that the DPRK wants to normalize relations with Japan during the prime minister's tenure, Kyodo said, citing unidentified participants at the dinner.
Of course Kim Jong Il would like to normalize relations with Japan. The only significant question worth asking is, "at what cost?" Is Kim willing to give anything up in order to improve relations with Japan (letting all the family members of abductees move to Japan if they wish, or tone down on the incessant anti-Japanese rhetoric that is nearly daily fare from the KCNA--see here
for the latest--for example).