Japan and North Korea agree to hold talks for the first time since 2012

Japan and North Korea will resume government-to-government negotiations for the first time since November 2012.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry said Friday that the two countries have agreed to meet in Beijing on March 30-31.

The agreement was reached at informal talks this week between Japanese and North Korean Foreign Ministry officials in Shenyang, China. The officials were attending a meeting of the two countries' Red Cross societies.

Japan and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations. They held talks in 2012 during a brief warming of relations, but those ended after North Korea launched a rocket in December of that year.

A major issue for Japan is the fate of at least a dozen Japanese who it says were abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.