KASHIWAZAKI, Niigata Pref. – Kaoru Hasuike and his wife, Yukiko, told Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe and Cabinet Secretariat special adviser Kyoko Nakayama on Tuesday that they want to be reunited with their children in Japan in the near future.
“I want to meet with our children in Japan as soon as possible. I trust in the Japanese government,” Hasuike, 45, was quoted by other participants in the meeting as saying. The couple’s daughter and son are still in North Korea.
The visit was the first by Abe and Nakayama to the Hasuike family home since the abductees returned to their hometown of Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, on Oct. 17. They had arrived in Tokyo two days earlier.
“We are negotiating with (North Korea) so that your children can return as early as possible. It is an issue of top priority,” Abe said, reassuring the couple of the government’s determination. “It may be prolonged, but I hope you will understand.”
Abe and Nakayama also explained the results of normalization talks held between Japan and North Korea last week in Kuala Lumpur.
In the discussions, Tokyo and Pyongyang failed to reach an agreement over the permanent return of the five abductees and a visit to Japan as soon as possible by family members who remain in the North. Pyongyang refused the Japanese request and urged the abductees to first return to North Korea.
“As for our permanent return (to Japan), we will think about it after we meet as a family and hold discussions,” Hasuike told Abe, according to his elder brother Toru, 47.
At a news conference after the meeting, Hasuike said he would like to have his children first come to Japan. He said he wanted to explain what he and his wife have not told them before, apparently referring to their Japanese ancestry and their abductions by North Korea.
“Instead of just words, I would like (my children) to meet with our families and relatives (in Japan),” Hasuike told reporters.
Hasuike and his relatives said the proposal that the abductees meet with their families in a third country would not work.
“It will be impossible to create an environment where we can speak freely,” if the meeting takes place in a third country, Hasuike was quoted by his brother as telling Abe.
According to the participants, the family told Abe they want the government to stick to the principle of having the children travel to Japan instead of having the families meet in another country.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi indicated Monday that he would not rule out a reunion in a third country, which was proposed by Japan but ignored by North Korea during the normalization talks.
Government officials said Abe and Nakayama hope to hear various requests directly from the abductees because they will be useful in working out support measures when the five return and resettle in Japan permanently, with their families.
On Wednesday, Abe and Nakayama are scheduled to visit another abductee, Hitomi Soga, 43, in her hometown of Mano on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture.
They met the two other abductees, Yasushi Chimura and his wife, Fukie, both 47, in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, on Sunday evening.
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