The first government-to-government talks between Japan and North Korea in four years have been extended for a day in a sign the sides hope for progress despite being deadlocked over whether to discuss the North's kidnapping of Japanese citizens.

Japan's Kyodo news agency reported the two sides will meet again Friday for a third day of discussions.

This week's meetings have been described as preliminary discussions to pave the way for talks in the future covering a broader agenda.

Discussions between Tokyo and Pyongyang have been frozen since August 2008 because of animosity over past frictions and disputes over the North's nuclear program and its kidnapping of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.