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This article examines North Korea's policy toward Japan in the 1980s and prospects for policy changes in the 1990s. The author describes the generally negative images that Japan and North Korea held of each other in the 1980s, including a pattern of sanctions and countermeasures. The beginning of a more favorable DPRK policy toward Japan in the 1980s is also revealed. The author examines the personnel who have been and may reasonably be expected to continue to be influential in making DPRK-Japan policy, as he traces the growing independence of that policy from the North's South Korea policy. Finally the author presents recent North Korean actions that suggest a growing desire to improve relations with Japan.