Japan offers ‘condolences’
Published : Dec 19, 2011 - 20:25
Updated : Dec 19, 2011 - 20:25
TOKYO (AFP) ― The Japanese government on Monday offered its condolences on the death of Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea, a country with which Japan has no diplomatic relations.

“We express our condolences upon receiving the announcement of the sudden passing of Kim Jong-il, the chairman of the National Defense Committee of North Korea,” Japan’s top government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said.

“The Japanese government hopes that this unexpected development would not bring any adverse impact on the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula,” he said.

Ties between North Korea and Japan have been fraught for decades, partly as a result of Japan’s sometimes brutal 1910-1945 annexation of the Korean peninsula.

In 2002, Pyongyang admitted orchestrating the kidnapping of a number of Japanese nationals to train its agents in Japanese language and customs.

Many of those kidnapped never returned home and the issue continues to stir strong sentiment among the Japanese public.