Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that Japan will "make the appropriate responses" to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's message of sympathy sent after a deadly earthquake that struck the Noto Peninsula on New Year's Day.

Speaking at a parliamentary session, Kishida did not elaborate further on how he will address the rare message from Kim, but did reiterate his eagerness to resolve the long-standing issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.

Combined photo shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R, KCNA/Kyodo) and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. (Kyodo)

Kishida also repeated he will take the lead in promoting high-level negotiations to bring about a summit with Kim, saying, "As prime minister, I am determined to devote myself wholeheartedly to the return of all abductees as soon as possible."

During a Diet session on Friday, Kishida expressed his gratitude to Kim, who sent the message in early January over the 7.6-magnitude earthquake that hit the peninsula on the Sea of Japan coast. Japan and North Korea have no diplomatic relations.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said Kim's father, the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, did not send a message of sympathy to then Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan at the time of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan.

After five abductees were brought back to Japan in 2002, Tokyo has sought the return of 12 others officially recognized as having been abducted by North Korea. Pyongyang, however, has claimed that the abduction issue has been already resolved.

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