During talks in Mongolia Japan and North Korea agreed to reopen stalled talks on abductions during the 1970s and ’80s.

Tokyo wants information on the abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents. Bilateral talks, the first in four years between lower-level negotiators, were resumed in August but failed to make significant progress, AP reports.

Five abductees were returned to Japan in 2002. Japan believes at least one abductee may still be alive and detained in North Korea. Pyongyang denies this.

Officials from Japan expect North Korea to remain reserved on the issue and said that talks were unlikely to lead to an immediate breakthrough. North Korea disclosed only a few details in accordance with “issues of mutual interest”.

Ties between the two countries were severed following Pyongyang’s missile launch in 2006, prompting Tokyo to impose sanctions on the isolated state.