Abe encouraged by effort of abductees’ kin

by Hiroko Nakata

Relatives of Japanese abducted by North Korea sent a strong message to the world on Pyongyang’s human rights abuses when they visited Washington last week, Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Monday.

The comments followed his meeting earlier in the day with Sakie Yokota, whose daughter, Megumi, was abducted by North Korean agents in 1977 at age 13, and relatives of other abductees.

They reported the outcome of their meeting between Yokota and her son, Takuya, and President George W. Bush at the White House. Yokota and others also testified at the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

“Words from Sakie and others moved many people and showed the seriousness of the abduction issue as well as the problem of human rights. I told them what they said became a strong message,” Abe said after the meeting. “I also told them the Japanese government will do its best to resolve the issue.”

Abe said Japan should cooperate with the U.S. and other parts of the world to make every effort to get any remaining abductees out of North Korea.

As for the chances of another meeting between Japan and North Korea, however, Abe declined to give a clear answer.