Japan, North Korea hold talks on abductees despite Tokyo's dismay at missile launch

Japan and North Korea envoys have held talks in Beijing on the North's abduction of Japanese citizens after Tokyo expressed dismay at the North's firing of Scud missiles.

The meeting Tuesday was aimed at clarifying the fate of missing Japanese, an issue that has kept relations in a deep freeze. The talks went ahead despite concern the North's launch of missiles on Sunday, which South Korea viewed as provocative, might prompt Tokyo to pull out.

Japan's chief envoy, Junichi Ihara, said the launch "is greatly regrettable" and runs counter to the spirit of previous joint statements.

North Korea abducted dozens, and possibly hundreds, of Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s. The North agreed to open an investigation into the abductions following three days of talks in Stockholm in May.