• Kyodo


Two members of a group supporting Japanese abducted by North Korean agents left for Washington on Sunday.

The group plans to exchange information on the abductions and Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons development program with U.S. government officials and lawmakers.

Yoichi Shimada and Yoshitaka Fukui are the two representing the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea. Shimada said they plan to meet with members of the U.S. congress and submit a letter calling on U.S. leaders to cooperate when the families of the abductees visit the United States.

The two are also scheduled to deliver a lecture at a symposium organized by the conservative U.S. think tank Heritage Foundation and hold talks with senior State Department officials, Shimada said.

Shimada is an assistant professor of international politics at Fukui Prefectural University and Fukui is an assistant professor at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

The Heritage Foundation is believed to have influence on the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.

“We want to expand our human network and exchange important information for a solution to the abduction cases,” Shimada said.

“We will say to the U.S. public that North Korea is adopting a hostile attitude by holding hostage the children of abductees such as Mr. Yasushi Chimura,” he added.

After Washington, the two will visit New York to meet with U.N. Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Kenzo Oshima and Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Koichi Haraguchi.

Tokyo officially acknowledges that 15 Japanese were abducted by North Korean agents in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Five were repatriated in October, but their children remain in North Korea.

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