National / Politics

North Korea provides little new info on Japanese abductees: Tokyo

Kyodo

North Korea provided little new information regarding abducted nationals when officials contacted Pyongyang last month, according to a Japanese government source.

When Japanese officials made contact around when the U.S.-North Korea summit took place June 12, North Korea repeated the results of their own investigation into Japanese abducted during the 1970s and 1980s that they gave following their talks in Stockholm on May 2014, the source said Saturday.

Tokyo had repeatedly asked the United States to raise the abduction issue at the Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but little is known about any response given by the reclusive state.

Japan officially lists 17 of its citizens as having been kidnapped by North Korean agents and suspects the North’s involvement in many more disappearances of Japanese nationals. Of the 17, five were repatriated in 2002, but North Korea has claimed eight of them died and that the other four never entered the country.

It is not known whether North Korean officials provided any information on the remaining 12 people that are formally recognized by Tokyo as abduction victims during the contact last month.

According to the source, North Korea said no Japanese nationals had come to the country since the arrival of two Japanese men, who were listed by North Korea as having entered, in an “interim” report presented to Japan shortly after the Stockholm meeting.

The source said the two men are Minoru Tanaka and Tatsumitsu Kaneda, who used to work at the same restaurant in Kobe. Tanaka is one of the four individuals North Korea previously said as never having entered the country, and that Kaneda is among those who the Japanese government suspects were abducted.