Families of Japanese National Abducted by North Korea Seek U.S. assistance; Show Urgent Need for Resolution

Takayuki Fuchigami / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takuya Yokota, a representative of the Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, shows a photo of his mother Sakie at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON — Families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea said they have conveyed their sense of urgency, due to the age of the abductees’ parents, to U.S. officials in Washington and confirmed their cooperation for a quick resolution of the issue.

The members of the Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, or AFVKN, met with U.S. officials in Washington, including Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and Senator Bill Hagerty, who previously served as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Takuya Yokota, 55, the AFVKN representative whose sister Megumi was abducted at the age of 13, told reporters on Tuesday that he had shown the U.S. officials a photo of his mother Sakie, 88. He reportedly told the officials there is little time left for his mother and other aging parents of abductees, noting the group’s strong desire to reunite them with their children.

He also said that he explained the group’s new policy to not oppose the lifting of Japan’s individual sanctions imposed on North Korea if an “immediate return of all abductees” occurred while the parents of the abductees are still alive. He said no objections were raised by the U.S. officials.