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Tuesday, 14th October 2008
In General Japan News,

No energy aid for North Korea, says Aso

Japanese prime minister Taro Aso has said that he is unwilling to allow the country to give energy aid to North Korea.

The leader said that no such assistance will be given unless North Korea provides details of the fate of Japanese civilians captures in the 1970s and 1980s.

North Korea has been taken off the US' list of state sponsors of terrorism as denuclearisation talks progress, but Mr Aso has informed them that he is unhappy with the decision, AFP reports.

He said that North Korea would demand energy and economic assistance in exchange for denuclearisation - something which Japan would be unwilling to provide.

"As long as there is no progress on the abduction issue, however, we will not respond to this kind of demand," said the premier.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has been shown on Korean Central Television - the first pictures of him in almost two months.

Though it is unclear when the pictures were taken, he appears to be in good health, following reports that he had undergone brain surgery.