Families of N Korea abductees meet Suga ahead of Biden summit


Family members of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to try to seek a resolution to the long-standing issue ahead of his upcoming summit with U.S. President Joe Biden.

"We pray every day that they are safe. We want everyone to come home," said Sakie Yokota, 85, the mother of Megumi who was kidnapped as a 13-year-old in 1977, as she again called for the abductees' repatriation.

Suga, who is set to meet Biden on April 16 in Washington, responded that he would "convey the importance of the abductee issue in a straightforward manner" during the summit and that he "wanted to advance toward a resolution through cooperation" between both governments.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Yokota spoke of her sadness at the length of time that has passed without any resolution to the issue.

"All we want is for our children to come home," she said.

Her son, Takuya, 52, who serves as secretary general of a group of the victims' families, said that a quick resolution was necessary as time is pressing with the family members aging.

The group who met Suga included 92-year-old Akihiro Arimoto, father of Keiko who was abducted when she was 23 years old; and Koichiro Iizuka, 44-year-old brother of Yaeko Taguchi who was abducted when she was 22.

Last month, the group filed a request addressed to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a meeting with Joseph Young, charge d'affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Japan officially lists 17 people as having abducted by North Korea, with five already repatriated. But Pyongyang maintains that eight have died, including Megumi Yokota, and the other four never entered the country.

The summit has taken on greater importance after Pyongyang abruptly announced Tuesday it would pull out of the Tokyo Summer Games over pandemic concerns, depriving Suga of his hoped-for avenue toward direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the issue.


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Japan has just renewed ban of exports to NK. What does it expect ? All the truth and the dictator on a plate ?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Suga must be feeling pressure. Trotting out Abe's old stable horse grieving families for political points. There is nothing left to be done. Let them grieve properly and help them accept their loved ones are gone.

Those abducted are either repatriated or dead. The remaining 4; well there are roughly 80,000 missing persons reports in Japan every year. Pretty safe to say they're somewhere in those numbers, not in NK

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I feel for the families but pressuring Suga, like all the PM’s before him, to pressure the US into pressuring NK isn’t going to do anything. The US has no more leverage over NK than Japan. That’s the definition of insanity. And I hate to say it, but the abductees are almost certainly dead. Let it go. RIP.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

@Jonathan Japan has just renewed ban of exports to NK. What does it expect ? All the truth and the dictator on a plate ?

I totally agree! Well said.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

If Koizumi couldn't get anything done what makes them think jello kneed Suga can? Biden can't do anything other than lip service like Lil Bush, Obama, and Trump did before him.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The NK abduction issue has been and continues to be welcomed by every US Administration as it supports the position that NK is a "terrorist state". NK abduction victims are not just Japanese, there are SE Asians, even Europeans on the list with the largest number being South Korean. However the SK voices regarding the NK abdictions are quelled because of the SK govt position towards NK. In Japan of course the abduction is clearly used as a political tool, now more domestic than diplomatic.

One of those issues that are unlikely to ever get resolved to anyone's satisfaction. But will continue, at least until the stand-off relationship between NKorea and Japan changes, if ever. So yes, it's absolutely terrible for the victim families but there is little hope for optimism. At least for now.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

So yes, it's absolutely terrible for the victim families

And it's much more likely the victims are resting closer to Mt Fuji than in NK.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Trump met "Kim JonUn three times, has he ever mentioned the Japanese abductors ever once?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Sorry for the families..

Damn NKorea TERRORIST !!..

More sanctions and crush them !!..

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Damn NKorea TERRORIST !!..

Open to interpretation, I guess. All authoritarian governments could be said to have a whiff of terror about them.

More sanctions and crush them !!..

Dialogue. The people of the DPRK have been crushed by brutal regimes, starvation and a police state for generations. Crushing them again won't help matters.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Return ALL abducted Japanese or their remains, or ZERO big Japanese investment for NK going forward.

Great to see the US is on the same page as Japan on this issue.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Though I have my sympathies and I can feel the family members of the abducted people this is something that happened over four decades ago,and I think the Biden-Suga meeting should prioritize about the world pandemic and the geo-political threat that China and Russia are posing to the globe.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

NK abductee issue...Regular as clockwork...The autumn election is getting closer, with Covid cases rising again and Olympics unpopular due to govt bumbling incompetence Suga is looking for anything that can be sold to the public as a positive. Hence sleepy Yoshi needs a photo op with current POTUS to appear stateman like and of course the good ole LDP election card , the NK abductee families get rolled out again.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

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