U.S. Envoy to U.N. Meets Japanese Abductees’ Families

Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Ambassador to United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield poses for a photo with Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi and the families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s, April 18, 2024, at Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, April 18 (Jiji Press) — U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Thursday met with families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea decades ago.

In their meeting at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, the families sought support from Thomas-Greenfield for resolving the abduction issue early.

The ambassador said that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration “remains committed to raising this issue at every opportunity and calling for the return of abducted Japanese citizens to their families.”

“Japan and the United States need to play a central role in strongly protesting the outrageous acts and pressing (North Korea to resolve the issue),” said Takuya Yokota, who heads a group of relatives of the abductees. His older sister, Megumi, was kidnapped to North Korea in 1977 when she was 13.

He also asked for U.S. understanding of the group’s policy of not opposing a possible lifting of Japan’s own sanctions on certain conditions, such as the return home of all victims at once.

Megumi’s mother, Sakie, said, “I’ve turned 88, so I want to see (my daughter) somehow while I’m in good health.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, minister in charge of the abduction issue, joined the meeting.

“We’ll communicate closely with relevant countries including the United States to resolve the abduction issue,” he told a press conference after the meeting.