Japanese anti-nuclear group to send fact-finding mission to North Korea

Kyodo

A leading Japanese anti-nuclear group will send a delegation to North Korea next month tasked with obtaining information about survivors of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the organization said Wednesday.

The mission, the first in a decade by the Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs, or Gensuikin, also plans to discuss North Korea’s denuclearization efforts with North Korean officials. It will visit from Sep. 6-13.

Citing information provided by North Korea, the anti-nuclear group said there were 1,911 victims of the bombs living in the country, of which 382 people were still alive in 2008.

“The survivors (who left Japan for) North Korea are also aging and we need to grasp the latest situation,” said Shingo Fukuyama, a member of the mission. “We want to have discussions that would accelerate denuclearization.”

The dispatch of the mission follows the inter-Korean summit in April and the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit in June, in which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

During the visit, the first since 2008, members of the mission are also scheduled to attend a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s founding Sept. 9.