Source AP ©

Japan's radio broadcasts to North Korea to reach Japanese abductees

Radio broadcasts in N. Korea by Japan about international affairs are intended to reach out to Japanese abductees living in the communist country.

The hour-long programs on short-wave radio - 30 minutes each in Korean and Japanese - will be repeated daily for a week before being updated, the Cabinet Office said in a statement.

The government broadcasts come as Tokyo steps up pressure on Pyongyang over its former abduction of Japanese citizens to train communist spies in Japanese language and customs. North Korea has admitted taking 13 Japanese, and in 2002 it released five to return home, saying the remaining eight had died.

But the issue remains a sore spot because the Japanese government believes those eight may still be alive, and suspects more of its citizens may have been abducted. The dispute has stymied attempts to establish diplomatic relations between the neighboring nations.

The new broadcasts are meant to cheer up any surviving abductees in North Korea with music, voices of relatives back home and reports on international affairs and relations between Japan and North Korea.

The Cabinet Office said it was not releasing the time of the broadcasts or their radio frequency in order to avoid having the signal jammed by North Korean authorities.