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The National Police Agency on Monday boosted the profile of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals, declaring it an issue requiring the attention of police nationwide.

In the first gathering in which senior officers in charge of kidnapping cases from all prefectural forces solely discussed the abduction issue, Katsuhisa Segawa, head of the NPA security bureau, underscored the need for police across the country to step up efforts to help resolve the problem.

“Public expectations for a full resolution to the (abduction) cases have been growing,” Segawa was quoted as telling the meeting. “I hope that vigorous efforts are made in investigations” relevant to these incidents.

While explaining that the abductions are a major bilateral issue in terms of normalizing bilateral ties between Japan and North Korea, Segawa instructed the prefectural forces to enhance coordination with the agency and among themselves.

Pyongyang has promised to reinvestigate the cases of 10 missing Japanese whom Tokyo believes were abducted by North Korea. Despite this, Pyongyang failed to provide convincing accounts on these cases during bilateral working-level talks in August and September.

At Monday’s gathering, Segawa also urged those present to continue investigating the fate of other missing Japanese whose families suspect Pyongyang was involved in their disappearance.

Relatives of 32 missing Japanese have filed criminal complaints or accusations with police nationwide, saying their kin may have been abducted to the North.

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