• Kyodo

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North Korea said Wednesday it completely rejects Japan’s accusations over the abduction issue and claimed it kidnapped Japanese due to Tokyo’s hostility over the past century.

North Korea blasted the speech that Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi delivered Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly, in which she said Pyongyang’s outstanding nuclear arms, missile and abduction issues must be comprehensively resolved.

A North Korean envoy to the United Nations said Wednesday the abduction issue has been resolved.

The envoy also said that a few abductees are nothing compared with the 8.4 million Koreans who died under Japan’s 40-year colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Yoshiyuki Motomura, Japan’s deputy permanent representative to the U.N., fired back that the offspring of the five abductees allowed to return to Japan last year, and the husband of one of the five, have not been allowed to leave Pyongyang, resulting in an abnormal situation that needs to be resolved.

North Korea requested permission to issue its remarks after all the other speeches were completed Wednesday. Countries that object to certain speeches are allowed the right to rebuttal, but the right is rarely exercised.

North Korea admitted last September that it abducted 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s and claimed eight of them have died. The five surviving abductees returned to Japan last October.

Japan has urged North Korea to account for the whereabouts of all the victims with verifiable evidence, and suspects more than the 13 mentioned by Pyongyang were abducted. The row over the abduction issue has prevented the two countries from resuming talks to establish diplomatic ties.

In Tokyo on Thursday, the government condemned the remarks. The remarks “were regrettable. What North Korea said was inappropriate and unacceptable,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told reporters.

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