Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has told the family of Kaoru Hasuike that he will try to resolve the North Korean abduction issue in a “convincing” way, Hasuike’s brother, Toru, said Monday.

Hasuike is one of five Japanese who returned in October after being abducted by Pyongyang agents in 1978.

In a letter sent to Hasuike’s relatives in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, Koizumi said, “The Japanese government is resolved to making the utmost efforts to resolve the abduction issue in a way that is convincing to everyone.”

Toru Hasuike told reporters about the contents of the letter after visiting the Prime Minister’s Official Residence.

“We will continue to steadily approach North Korea with a view to find out the facts about the abductions and to have the families of (abduction) victims come to Japan,” he quoted Koizumi as saying in the letter dated Friday.

Toru Hasuike added, however, that he wants the government to get moving on the matter, noting that five months have passed since the five returnees left their offspring, and the American husband of one of the abductees, behind in North Korea.

Koizumi was responding to a letter handed last week by Hasuike’s parents to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, requesting a further meeting between the prime minister and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il aimed at resolving the abduction issue.

Toru Hasuike and three other families of Japanese abduction victims had met earlier with Abe at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence to report on their visit last week to the United States.

Shigeru Yokota, whose daughter, Megumi, was abducted in 1977 at age 13 and, according to Pyongyang, died in North Korea, thanked Abe for helping the relatives meet with U.S. government officials and lawmakers, according to participants at the meeting.

Abe responded by saying that, “It was fruitful in that the United States formally expressed its view that the abductions were terrorism,” according to one of the participants. But when asked about Tokyo’s position on the abduction issue, Abe was quoted as saying, “I also believe it is a security problem, but there is not yet a consensus among the entire government.”

One of the relatives then criticized the government for failing to recognize that the issue directly concerns Japan, the participants said.

During a five-day visit to Washington last week, four relatives of three abduction victims met with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert and other officials.

Armitage told them that the abduction issue is one of the reasons that Washington has North Korea on its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

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