Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with a group of families of Japanese abducted by North Korea at his official residence last year. Photo: REUTERS/Pool
politics

Japan's budget on N Korea goes unused amid stalled abduction talks

13 Comments

Part of Japan's state budget related to North Korea has remained untouched in the last five years amid Pyongyang's refusal to implement a 2014 bilateral agreement to investigate the fate of Japanese abductees in the country, according to Foreign Ministry documents and officials.

The ministry has not used a total of 4.57 million yen from fiscal 2015 to 2019. The funds were earmarked for sending officials to the North as part of a probe into the status of remains of Japanese who died around the end of World War II in what is now North Korea, ministry documents show.

The envisioned trips were based on the Stockholm agreement, under which Pyongyang agreed to reopen an investigation into the fate of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s as well as those that stayed on the Korean Peninsula after the end of the war.

The peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.

But North Korea has refused to let Japanese officials in, calling the agreement "invalid" after Japan strengthened economic sanctions on the country in 2016 in response to a string of nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

While Tokyo argues the agreement still stands, there are questions as to whether it is appropriate for the Foreign Ministry to continue requesting money it knows will likely never be used.

"Expenses usually aren't handled like this," said an official at the Finance Ministry.

"Projects that didn't materialize normally aren't funded the next year," another government official said. "There shouldn't be an exception just because North Korea is involved."

According to ministry documents obtained by Kyodo News through an information disclosure request, 882,000 yen was allocated for North Korea trips in fiscal 2015, 1.02 million yen in fiscal 2018, and 748,000 yen in fiscal 2019.

It was not clear what caused the fluctuation in the annual figures. The unused funds were ultimately returned to the state coffers.

The ministry is also requesting a North Korea-related budget for fiscal 2020, which will start April next year, according to a ministry official.

Japan officially lists 17 nationals as having been abducted by North Korean agents, including five who were repatriated in 2002, but suspects their involvement in many more disappearances.

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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Stalled? Did they ever get off the ground?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Back in October 2002 Five abductees were returned. Yasushi Chimura and his wife Fukie, Kaoru Hasuike and his wife Yukiko, and Hitomi Soga - the wife of Charles Robert Jenkins, who remained in North Korea. Jenkins himself was later returned and lived the remainder of his life in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Ossan

It's true that the people you mentioned were repatriated back home. I always wondered for what reason NK release some and hold others as Japan insists. I know NK said other Japanese had died there and returned the remains which Japan, upon DNA tests, said aren't Japanese.

I'd TRULY like to know what NK's demands are. One would have to be a total imbecile to accept the " NK is asking for aid " line, which has always been the refrain from Japanese side after every talk.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why ?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Cogito Ergo SumToday  08:14 pm JST

@Ossan

One would have to be a total imbecile to accept the " NK is asking for aid " line, which has always been the refrain from Japanese side after every talk.

Considering that North Korea is one of the poorest nations in the world, and Japan is one of the wealthiest, one would have to be an imbecile to not recognize that North Korea would have asiprations for aid/assistance from Japan down the road.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ Ossan

NK has weathered an all out , all time , all encompassing and trans- generational ( Ill Sung to Jong-Un) head to wall butting by every one. I've heard times without number how it's going to collapse, but is still around. Certainly aid will not be their eminent demand, not from Japan. They can get it from China , Russia etc. From Japan?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I mean sanctions by every one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pitiful

°

North Korea say : this is japanese murders and child abduction put on them so their high level employe don't stop to work from inside fear; or Japan don't loose their confidence in the first ministry.

The list was bogus in exchange of money trade.

Now, we are in a middle of ramdam. There is nothing to wait from North Corea on too many names.

Here they will choose the bigger lie instead of the path of truth if I take in TEPCO solution on their nuclear waste. Be prepared for fake photographs and express your wish for real truth even if discrete to have the unanswered but clear answer.

Good luck on that one.

°

NadAge

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Think of 5 countries that are considered rogue states by Western counties - we can all guess who they are. Sanctions have tarnished their names, and for a good reason.

North Korea have been sanctioned for breaking so many international norms - sinking ships in international waters and downing passenger jets just to name a few.

People will harp on about sanctions hurting the little people, but apart from sanctions , the alternative is war.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@ Snickers

Sanctions are a form of war.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Cogito Ergo SumSep. 10  10:52 pm JST

@ Ossan

NK has weathered an all out , all time , all encompassing and trans- generational ( Ill Sung to Jong-Un) head to wall butting by every one. I've heard times without number how it's going to collapse, but is still around. Certainly aid will not be their eminent demand, not from Japan. They can get it from China , Russia etc. From Japan?

If North Korea could "easily get aid from China and Russia", they already would have. And North Korea wouldn't be the economic mess that it is. If you are attempting to argue that there is no value to North Korea in possibly getting aid/assistance from the third biggest economy in the world, that just doesn't make amy sense whatsoever. North Korea plays a unique game and no one knows what they really are trying to achieve. But there's no reason to deny common sense. Leave it at that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Doest sanction even work against dictatorships where those in power do not give a hoot towards their own people and the people have no power whatsoever that they can't even hold any public protests toward the government?

It'll just make the people suffer more while those in power continue living lavishly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If this and other funding is not used then let if pay for another year for the 10% tax increase not needed in the first place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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