The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to propose at a U.N. meeting later this month that the world body set up a panel to probe North Korea’s past abductions of Japanese and other rights violations, diplomatic sources said Saturday.
The government plans to submit a resolution at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which is scheduled to run for about a month from Feb. 25 in Geneva, sources in Tokyo said.
“There’s a high possibility for the resolution to be adopted,” one of the diplomatic sources said.
Abe’s team has high hopes for forming the panel because China and Russia, which have close ties with North Korea, will not be represented on the council this time.
The permanent U.N. council is tasked with dealing with serious human rights issues, but it hasn’t yet formed an investigative panel to deal with the violations committed by North Korea.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is in charge of the council’s secretariat functions.
The panel would be composed of human rights experts.
If it is formed, it will investigate issues including those related to the abduction issue and North Korea’s notorious political prison camps, the sources said.
However, it would probably have difficulty investigating North Korea since it has no legal force.
Abe’s government believes establishing the panel is important as part of its efforts to make progress on the abduction issue, which dates back to the 1970s and 1980s.
The government also wants to ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang, which is rapidly improving its missile program and getting ready to conduct another nuclear test.