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Abductees' families urge gov't to make greater efforts to resolve issue

22 Comments

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.

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22 Comments
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Its resolved. Now if you don't mind, we got a nuclear crisis to worry about.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

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.”

i don't understand their frustrations, it's the frequent change in govt that allows their statements to appear frequently. Look at LDP rule the issue was ignored for half a century.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I feel sorry for them, but let's face it - dealing with the radiation problem and an economy going down the drains may be a little bit more important.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Your weekly abduction story, brought to you by Japan Today. Don't worry about any other problems going on at the moment, let's raise this issue once again where, whatever happens from it we're not going to be satisfied.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That is an indication on how quick the government goes about on issues

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

North Korea being North Korea means this will never be fully resolved until there's momentous change there.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Get passports if you haven’t got them, apply for visas to travel to North Korea, if you clear that, contact the North Koreans and request an audience with the govt or the little man himself, go. Talk. Ask. Play to his ego and you may be surprised what happens, try, for yourselves, your own peace of mind. Get pro-active, no more waiting for others to do what you should have done years ago, decades ago. The North Korean "govt" is as it is due to what Japan did to the Kingdoms of that peninsula last century, they didn't just suddenly become who they are under their own steam, think about that, think about how and why the animal has grown to be what it is. Now, interact with it accordingly.

Good speed and do SOMETHING other than the same old approach.I wish you peace.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Get passports if you haven’t got them, apply for visas to travel to North Korea,..."

YongYang: You first.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

We are beginning to wonder how serious the government is about our plight.

I was wondering the same thing. about 10 years ago.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I hate to say this but this issue is so not an issue, hasnt been for quite some time, some times the truth(or as close as you get get) needs to be faced

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is it that time again? The issue has been resolved, and any speculation that there are others still alive in NK is merely that -- speculation. My jaw still drops in amazement when I recall the former NK spy being invited to Japan, wined and dined, flown about in a helicopter... all on the taxpayer's dime while she merely said vagueries like, "Who? your daughter? Oh yes... ummm... I think I recall hearing her name once, 30 years ago" and the adbuctees' kin eating up her every word.

Again, the issue has been resolved. There are FAR more important things to deal with here at present.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

And at the same time teach the People of JP to have more respect for the none japanese natives in the country and accept the Koreans and Chinese people, that were abducted and forced to be in japan during the war, as citizens. Recognize that racism is a serious problem in japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have read so many articles here and seen your comments and I can't believe how insensitive you can be against japanese people. Kidnapping and not being able to see your family members is as important as dealing with the actual issues of the country. But people like you who haven't suffered such things won't never understand. You're so insensitive and thoughless.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Maria: Whom are you addressing? If it's me, I can assure you that I feel for the plight of these people, and you're correct that non of my children (I don't have any) or relatives have been kidnapped. The reason I get frustrated with the 'abductees' kin' group trying to make this issue center stage all the time is that it has effectively derailed talks on more important issues over time. For example, whenever the six-nation talks between NK, the US, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and China start up the abductees' kin always demand this issue be brought up, and it has literally shut down the talks on denuclearizing NK. This is so much the case that NK demands Japan not be allowed to the table. I'm sorry, but trying to get rid of NK nukes is FAR more important than rejecting NK and having them BUILD up nukes because of a few people who think their kids are still alive in NK despite all proof to the contrary and no evidence to support their claims. Some on here and among the aforementioned kin have even suggested that NK should be infiltrated and the abductees rescued. It's ludicrous!

What's more, a number of those assumed 'kidnapped' in the past have turned up alive and well in Japan in the past; they merely ran away.

Anyway, I don't really care that much if you think I am insensitive. As I said, I feel for these people, but I think the current issues Japan is facing are far more critical than dropping everything to search for people that there is no proof are still alive, if they were ever taken by NK at all.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And one more thing, Maria: I'm not being insensitive towards the Japanese people -- I am hoping that the government here will focus on the more pressing issues and HELP the people. I can assure you if it were Aussies, Canucks, Indians, South Africans, or any other nation in the same situation my stance would not change one bit. But you are not the first to paint Japan as the victim when someone makes a general comment, and hence you justify said commenter's stance further. It's actually YOU who is against the Japanese people for lumping them into the category of victim.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@P in US. I have been to the Hermit Kingdom, on a package tour, the only way to go legally if you're not on a diplomatic / business mission, so, what next? These people need to do it for themselves, in all ways but one.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

just got one word to say, "gettoverit."

and smithinjapan the issue of abductees has never "shut down" the talks. it's always been the intransigency from the north. if you honest believe that then you need to open your eyes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sure & POWs don't really exist, this issue will persist as long as the abductees' families are still alive, put yourselves in their shoes, wouldn't you do the same or will you simply accept what NK tells you?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Way back when, it was the Japanese police, public servants, and politicians who ignored this from the start with idiot excuses because they were either too lazy, incompetent, or corrupt! And has even one of those police chiefs/bureaucrats/politicians ever been held responsible for the lies and ineptitude? Nope.

I sincerely feel for the families, but they had a chance to demand for proper investigations and that opportunity went wasted and it is a lesson for one and all in Japan in the 21st century! Don't expect the government to give a crap about you or your loved ones.

Sorry for venting, but I am so tired of seeing these people in the media!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Negotiations have been stalled for many years and a new approach is needed. I sympathize with the families but I have never heard anything constructive from them, only complaints and criticism.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maria YbanezSep. 06, 2011 - 01:17PM JST

I have read so many articles here and seen your comments and I can't believe how insensitive you can be against japanese people.

So we should be insensitive only against Brazilians or something?

Nationality is not the issue. The comments would be the same if they were from Canada, Nigeria or Mars. My sympathy has dried up. I used to have it, but now its all but gone. These suffered a horrible a thing, yes, but we need to move on now and stop wasting time and money on a handful of disappeared people. There are lots of other disappeared people in this country and the world, but none are sucking up so many resources as these few. That is because both the families and the government are abusing eachother for their own purposes and it needs to stop. We got far more important issues at hand, and that would include looking for other disappeared people. We got all we are going to get out of NK. It was a miracle we got that much. But its over. Its been over. Its way past time to move on. My sympathy is used up, and has turned to anger. Everything has its limits.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Juan: " put yourselves in their shoes, wouldn't you do the same or will you simply accept what NK tells you?"

Not at the cost of every thing else in the nation and the world, including basically derailing nuclear talks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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