Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to Pyongyang has enabled Japan to dig itself out of an ever deepening and divisive policy rut with regard to North Korea. However, the ability of Japan to exploit the opportunities opened up by the summit still remains indeterminate. So states Christopher Hughes, senior research fellow at the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick, UK, in the following article. Japan in the past has constructed around itself a framework of international and domestic policy constraints that have impeded and remain a latent impediment on its ability to fully engage North Korea. Hughes suggests that, Koizumi's visit to Pyongyang is a bold policy initiative worthy of praise and one which sets Japanese policy on a surer footing than at any time over the past decade. Nevertheless, Japan could still find itself as the most reluctant and least able of the trilateral partners to fully engage the North due to international constraints, domestic policy splits, and anti-North Korean sentiment in Japan.