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Relatives of abductees urge gov't to put pressure on N Korea

9 Comments

Relatives of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea over the past 35 years and their supporters held a symposium in Tokyo on Sunday to urge the Japanese government to make greater efforts to resolve the issue.

The symposium, organized by the Association of Abductees' Relatives, was attended by around 2,000 people, including former abductee Hitomi Soga, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Jin Matsubara, the minister in charge of the abduction issue.

This month marks the 10th anniversary of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's landmark visit to Pyongyang, during which North Korea admitted to abducting Japanese citizens. Shortly after the summit, North Korea freed five abductees and said the rest had died.

At Sunday's meeting, the association handed Noda a petition with 9.33 million signatures, urging that the Japanese government do more to pressure North Korea to come clean on the fate of the remaining abductees, NHK reported.

Noda replied that the government will make utmost efforts through high-level government talks.

The abductees' relatives have been pressing the Noda administration to take advantage of the change of government in North Korea last December. Matsubara hinted last week that Japan might offer North Korea incentives in the form of food aid to resolve the issue.

Many older family members have expressed frustration and concern that as they get older, they will not be able to continue lobbying the government for much longer.

Sakie Yokota, at 76, is the youngest parent of an abductee. She told the symposium that she and her husband Shigeru and trying to stay as healthy as possible so that they can be reunited with their daughter Megumi before they die, NHK reported.

Earlier this year, Matsubara urged any living abductees not to give up hope of returning to their homeland in a shortwave broadcast by Free North Korea Radio, which is run by defectors from North Korea living in Seoul.

© Japan Today/AFP

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9 Comments
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"Many older family members have expressed frustration and concern that as they get older, they will not be able to continue lobbying the government for much longer."

I'm going to get slammed but I'll say it anyway: while I truly and honestly feel for your terrible loss due to a horrible country, any reasonably intelligent person would have figured out after the first five years that the government cannot/will not/does not want to help you find your child. Your options are simple: go get your kid by yourself, by any means necessary.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

get all Liam Neeson in Taken on them

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who is tired of the issue and never wants to hear about it again? Please raise your hand.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

To list the top one horror country in the world is Japan. Terrorizing the whole Asians country since before and during ww2. That's why Japan revised history.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

RecklessSep. 03, 2012 - 02:33PM JST

Who is tired of the issue and never wants to hear about it again? Please raise your hand.

Hand up, although I do feel sorry for the families.

I said it 10 years ago, this issue should not have been taken up as national crusade, especially with Japan's past terrible record of kidnapping and rape throughout Asia, but should have been handled behind the scenes with the Japanese foreign ministry and the families working together.

Of course to Koizumi and the Japanese hard Right, the kidnapped people were never the issue, emasculating Japan through xenophobia and fear were the issues.

Sadly Koizumi won and the families lost.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

You know if your tired of reading about it you can just not read it. It's like complaining about a TV show and not changing the channel. Japans actions up to the end of WWII does not excuse North Korea's actions. The Japanese government responsible for the war were tried and convicted and no longer exists. The NKorean govt responsible for the kidnappihgs exist today., The South Koreans, from whom much of the information concerning the Japanese abductees comes from, have over 400 people abducted by the NKoreans, As to whether any progress will be made is really up typ the new NKorean regime under Kim Jong Un and to what extent they want to to use this issue as a bartering point.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

DogSep. 04, 2012 - 01:01AM JST "OssanAmericaSep. 03, 2012 - 11:02PM JST This is not only erroneous but off topic as well. Japan hasn't terorized anything since 1945. China is terrorizing all of Asia right now."

But you know it's still there. Under the veneer of social constraint and affluence, both getting weaker with each >passing month,

What's still there Dog? A desire to build an Empire? A desiure to ovrerun all of Asia? Maybe the small bunch of rigtwingers might.. But Japan has aconbstitution that forbids the use of militrary force to solve diplomnatic issues. No other country in the world has that. I'd say you're barking up the wrong tree.

It's there in the comments, it always has been.

Comments from wom? Intenet posters?

It's there in the politics, something new.

That's a laugh. If it was there in the politics the current issues wouldn't even exist., How long do you think a country would last if the "lobbed a missle" over the the United Stes, or China or Ruissia or any other major developed country?

But most of all it's there in the lack of empathy to seeing the rest of mankind being at the same level of hunamity as >themselves

If you consider the amount of foreign aid Japan dishes out to he rest of the world they come in second only behind the United States. Your statement makes no sense whatsoever.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Who is tired of the issue and never wants to hear about it again? Please raise your hand.

If it was your child that was abducted would you be singing the same tune?

I think it's crass(at best) for people to actually believe that it's wrong of any parent to want to know what happened to their KIDNAPPED children. It's possible that some of these abducted one's may still be alive too, granted chances are slim, but the chance exists.

I pray that if you are ever fortunate enough to be a parent someday that you NEVER have to go through what these families have been through.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The NKorean govt responsible for the kidnappihgs exist today.,

But the main players are all dead. Its not much use trying to hold a government responsible just because its the same official government. I doubt the new Dear Leader knows much if anything about the abductions.

If it was your child that was abducted would you be singing the same tune?

I would not be wasting my time pressuring the Japanese government, that is for sure. At this stage, about the most you could hope to get doing that is a war. Plus, it would mean getting used by Japanese politicians for no gain to me, my family, or my abducted child.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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