North Korea agreed in May to reopen an investigation into the abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and ‘80s in exchange for sanctions relief from Tokyo. Some thought this step could lead to a breakthrough in Japan-North Korea ties, but there has been little progress. Is this another North Korean deal gone bad, or is there still potential in this process?

Following a trip to North Korea, Junya Nishino discussed recent developments in Japan-North Korea relations and near-term prospects, looking at motivations in both capitals for improving ties, as well as the impact of these events on Japan’s relations with Washington and Seoul. Scott Snyder provided commentary and James L. Schoff moderated.

Junya Nishino

Junya Nishino is an associate professor at Keio University and a specialist on Korea and Japan-Korea relations. Previously, he was a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Woodrow Wilson Center in addition to serving as a consultant for Japan's Foreign Ministry. 

Scott Snyder

Scott Snyder is senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. His research focuses on South Korea's efforts to contribute on the international stage, its potential influence and contributions in East Asia, and implications of North Korean instability.

James L. Schoff

James L. Schoff is a senior associate in Carnegie’s Asia Program. His research focuses on U.S.-Japan relations and regional engagement, Japanese politics and security, and the private sector’s role in Japanese policymaking.