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LDP International Bureau Appeal on Behalf of the Victims of Abductions by North Korea

May 7, 2003

When Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited North Korea on September 17 of last year, hard evidence came to light with respect to the North Korean abduction of Japanese nationals. Since the return of some abduction victims on October 15, the abductees and their families have begun to overcome the anguish of separation and are starting a new life in Japan.
There is a feeling among the nation, however, that this issue has not yet been fully resolved, especially among the victims and their families. Presently, the Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea is making focused efforts to raise awareness, and some of its members made a second trip to the United States in an attempt to appeal to international opinion.
The LDP's International Bureau (Director General: Toshitsugu Saito, Member of the House of Representatives) is also working to help resolve the abduction issue. The International Bureau hosted Shoichi Nakagawa, chairman of the Parliamentarian League for Early Repatriation of Japanese Citizens Kidnapped by North Korea at its Nagata-kai, a study session organized for Japanese-speaking diplomats. Mr. Nakagawa presented his views on the issue, saying "there needs to be greater international understanding of the abduction issue. We should look for ways to apply international pressure on North Korea so as to win them over while listening directly to the abductees' families."
The subsequent Nagata-kai on March 12 hosted four members of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea (FVKN) - Shigeru and Sakie Yokota (Megumi Yokota's parents), Toru Hasuike (Kaoru Hasuike's brother) and Teruaki Masumoto (brother of Rumiko Masumoto). They were invited to speak with foreign diplomats in an effort to appeal to international opinion.
Each of the family members talked about how the abductions took place as well as the emotional impact upon everyone. The family members spoke in accord at the shock of how "an average Japanese civilian was forcibly abducted to a foreign country and then disappeared for decades. The abduction issue is not resolved yet, and this is a continuing hell for both the victims and families."
Director General Saito resolved, "the LDP's International Bureau endeavors to do all it can to apply international pressure on North Korea so as to win them over."
On May 7, 2003 Shinzo Abe, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, addressed the Nagata-kai so as to explain the government's negotiating situation with respect to the North Korea problem, including the abduction issue.
"Normalization of relations with North Korea and concomitant economic cooperation can only take place in conjunction with the resolution of the abduction and nuclear issues."
With respect to the means to resolve these issues, he laid out some practical policy alternatives. "It is generally seen that Japan faces three main options- to respond to North Korea's wishes; ignore them; or apply economic sanctions. Trade between Japan and North Korea is second largest after China, so economic sanctions could be considerably effective."
Through the efforts of the victims' families, there is a growing awareness of the abduction issue abroad. This is reflected in United Nations Human Rights Commission resolutions and discussions on this topic at summit meetings with countries of the European Union, and others.
The LDP International Bureau will endeavor to use its diplomatic channels in conjunction with appeals abroad so as to resolve this issue as swiftly as possible.
We seek the understanding and support of the international community to help resolve the abductions issue.

May 7, 2003

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