Relatives of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s have urged the new government of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to make greater efforts to resolve the issue. About 500 relatives and their supporters held a rally in Tokyo on Sunday. Kenji Yamaoka, the new minister in charge of abduction matters, also attended.
Shigeo Izuka, spokesman for a North Korean abductions victims group, urged Yamaoka to formally announce to North Korea Japan's attitude toward past and present abductions in no uncertain terms. North Korea broke off negotiations on the issue three years ago and has said there are no more abductees alive.
Meanwhile, NHK reported that abductees' kin have grown frustrated with the successive Japanese governments over the issue. Izuka was quoted as telling Yamaoka, “You are the fifth person in charge of resolving this issue. We are beginning to wonder how serious the government is about our plight.”
Yamaoka is also chairman of the National Public Safety Commission as well as minister for consumer affairs and food safety. Izuka questioned how he could spend much time on the issue. “You've got to make sure that North Korea hears our clear convictions on this subject,” Izuka said.
Also at the rally were the parents of Megumi Yokota, a prominent abductee who Pyongyang claims committed suicide in 1994, and several other families.
Yamaoka said he would do his best to make sure all remaining abductees returned to Japan.© Japan Today