North Korea is currently listed by the US as a state supporter of terrorism, but the US agreed to remove North Korea from its list in a nuclear disarmament deal signed in 2007 by both nations, as well as China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. The Christian Science Monitor reported that last month, North Korea announced that it was restarting its nuclear program, which some believe was due in part to the fact the US had not yet removed the country from the State Department's terrorism-sponsor list.
The Times adds that the recent compromise agreement is opposed by Japan, one of the six nations involved in the North Korea nuclear talks.
The "delisting" of North Korea will cause particular dismay in Japan, which is pressing Pyongyang to provide more information about its own citizens who were abducted and brought to North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. The fact that the US has chosen to reward the North before this issue has been resolved is regarded by many in Tokyo as a betrayal.
Many in the Japanese government regard Washington's rush to move ahead with the nuclear agreement as a transparent attempt to come up with a concrete foreign policy achievement in the last weeks of a struggling administration – and at the expense of a loyal ally.