Kishida ready to face N. Korea to resolve abductee issues

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, second from right, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, right, in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Sunday attending a meeting to seek the return of abductees from North Korea. Sakie Yokota, the mother of abductee Megumi Yokota, is seen left front.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday reiterated his desire for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to resolve issues surrounding Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea and to seek their return.

“It is very important to build a relationship between us leaders,” Kishida said at a gathering in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Around 800 people joined the gathering, including families of those abducted by North Korea and their supporters.

Since five abductees returned to Japan in 2002, there has been no further release of remaining abductees. Referring to this fact, Kishida stressed, “I feel truly sorry that many abductees are still left behind in North Korea. I’m determined to face Mr. Kim Jong Un unconditionally.”

One of the attendees was Takuya Yokota, 53, the younger brother of Megumi Yokota who was abducted by North Korea when she was 13.

“It is the responsibility of Japan to solve the abductee case. We will never give up,” said Yokota, the head of the group representing families of the abductees.

His mother, Sakie Yokota, 86, agreed. “Our children are bearing their ordeals while thinking of their parents and siblings. Japan must toughen itself up,” she said.