Japan and North Korea open talks this week to normalize diplomatic relations after 46 years of icy standoff. A first official round of discussions is scheduled in the North Korean capital Wednesday and Thursday.
Nuclear proliferation is to be a major topic. North Korea--which, according to intelligence reports, may one day be able to make nuclear weapons--has rebuffed U.S. and South Korean requests that it open its nuclear facilities to international inspection.
The legacy of Japan's colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula, from 1910 to 1945, will also figure prominently in the talks, which are expected to continue in Tokyo and Beijing at future dates.
Noboru Nakahira, head of the Japanese delegation, has promised that he will keep in contact with South Korea as the talks progress.