• Kyodo

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Japanese Ambassador to the U.N. Kenzo Oshima urged North Korea on Monday to return all the people it has abducted to their homelands.

The North Korean authorities, “while admitting the fact that they abducted Japanese citizens in the past, have failed to provide satisfactory information about 11 such abductees, much to the grief of the affected families,” Oshima told the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with human rights issues. Pyongyang has claimed there are no more Japanese abductees still alive in the North.

Relatives of Japanese abductees sat in on a committee meeting in the morning.

The group, led by Shigeo Iizuka, 68, whose younger sister, Yaeko Taguchi, was abducted to North Korea in 1978 when she was 22, is visiting New York to seek U.N. help to bring the abductees home.

It is the first time members of the group listened to such deliberations.

Oshima emphasized the importance of the abduction issue, saying “the protection and promotion of all human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community as a whole.”

Japan has urged North Korea to “seriously address the issue of their human rights violations, including returning the abductees immediately to their homelands,” Oshima said.

Iizuka’s group released an emergency appeal Sunday saying North Korea has abducted people from 12 nationalities, including South Korea, China, Lebanon, Thailand, Romania, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

After Monday’s deliberation, Iizuka told reporters he wants the issue resolved “as soon as possible.”

“(My sister’s) return has yet to be realized for as long as about 28 years. I hope every one is aware that we’re still waiting for her return.”

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