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New Year's Greetings Toshitsugu Saito

January 1, 2003


Happy New Year. This is Toshitsugu Saito, Director-General of the LDP International Bureau.
Last year was filled with both bad and good news. There was much talk of war and terrorism. At the same time, the World Cup soccer tournament in Japan and South Korea was a great success. This gave us hope for peace among people from many different countries and cultures.
2002 was a very important year for Japan. In September, Prime Minister Koizumi made a historic trip to North Korea. During his visit, General-Secretary Kim Jong-il admitted that North Korean agents have abducted Japanese citizens in the past. He also apologized for this.
This was very good news. However, the Japanese people were shocked to hear that only five of the abductees are still alive. This problem and others make negotiations to restore diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea very difficult. Some of the abductees have returned to Japan. However, their family members remain in North Korea. I often spend time thinking about what more the LDP should be doing to help solve this problem. I promise to do everything I can to reunite these families as soon as possible.
I have high hopes for the New Year. This year is the year of the sheep in the Japanese calendar. Sheep are animals that have peaceful, happy lives. My wish is that in the New Year, people all over the world can also live together in peace and harmony.
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