Japan's foreign minister said on Tuesday that six-way talks on denuclearising North Korea could resume next week after the United States announced it had resolved a row over Pyongyang's frozen funds.
"I think the six-way talks could resume next week as I heard that transferring the funds will be complete in the next couple of days," Taro Aso told reporters.
Once North Korea receives the money, a resumption in talks is "extremely likely," Aso said.
The comments came hours after Christopher Hill, the chief US envoy to the six-nation talks, said he expected the issue to be resolved in a couple of days.
The six-nation talks broke down last week after North Korea refused to enter negotiations until the money was safely returned.
Pyongyang had stayed away from talks for more than a year, during which it tested an atom bomb, after the United States blacklisted a Macau bank accused of handling laundered and counterfeited money for North Korea.
The United States announced an agreement on the funds at the start of the latest round of talks last week.
But North Korea was angry after it failed to receive the 25 million dollars quickly at its account with the Bank of China, which was reportedly concerned that handling the cash would hurt its credit rating