Japan and North Korea have ended two days of high-level talks, with no progress on issues that have blocked the two countries from forging diplomatic ties.
However, officials from both sides say they did agree on the need to meet again at an unspecified date.
The talks in Beijing centered on the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea, as well as reparation requests by North Korea over Japan's occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to World War II.
Japan's top negotiator, Akitaka Saiki, said Thursday that North Korea's demand for normalizing relations will not be possible without first resolving the abduction dispute.
North Korea admits kidnapping 13 Japanese citizens to train its spies in the 1970s and 1980s. Pyongyang has returned five, but says the other eight are dead.
Japan wants conclusive proof of their deaths and says there are other cases of suspected abductions which Pyongyang has not properly investigated.