Abe arrives in Bali to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, October 2013.
Edgar Su / Courtesy Reuters

Before the year is out, the world could witness Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang. As absurd as the idea might sound, Abe has repeatedly indicated his willingness to visit Kim, provided that Pyongyang makes some concessions in the long-running saga of several Japanese nationals who were abducted and allegedly brought to North Korea decades ago. An Abe-Kim summit would be greeted with suspicion from the United States and South Korea, who might fear that Tokyo was falling into a North Korean trap meant to weaken trilateral deterrence efforts. North Korea’s intentions must always be assessed cautiously; however, if they do meet and Abe secures a face-saving political concession from Pyongyang, Japan could finally put an end to the Kim regime’s blackmail.  

During the 1970s and 1980s, 17 Japanese nationals were allegedly kidnapped off the west coast of Japan

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