Japan stays the path on terror list

by Reiji Yoshida

Japan will keep pressuring the United States not to remove North Korea from its list of terrorist-sponsoring states since there has been no major progress on resolving the abduction issue, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Thursday.

Machimura, speaking in the Diet, made the remark in response to a speech by U.S. State of Secretary Condoleezza Rice, who indicated she was willing to delist the North if Pyongyang provides a full declaration of its nuclear activities, the main rationale behind the six-party denuclearization talks.

“There has been no declaration yet nor major progress or solution of the abduction issue. We are opposed to removing (the North) from the list of terrorist-supporting countries at this moment,” Machimura told a Lower House session, referring to the kidnapping of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and ’80s by North Korean agents.

But Machimura played down the significance of Rice’s speech, saying she only explained one of the general procedures possible for removing the North from the blacklist and did not mention any specific timing for doing so.

In fact, chief negotiators from Japan, the U.S. and South Korea met Friday evening in Tokyo to strengthen trilateral cooperation in pushing Pyongyang to fully declare its nuclear activities.