N. Korea Institute Criticizes Symposium on Abduction Issue

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno speaks at a press conference in Tokyo this month.

SEOUL — An institute under the North Korean Foreign Ministry has issued commentary criticizing Japan and other nations for planning to cohost a U.N. symposium on North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals.

The Institute for Japan Studies, a body under North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, released an article about the abduction issue on Tuesday.

Ri Pyong Dok, a researcher at the institute, reiterated North Korea’s previous claim in the article that the abduction issue “has been completely, finally and irreversibly settled thanks to our magnanimity and sincere efforts.”

Continuing to raise the issue is “little short of denying the stand of the Japanese chief executive who doesn’t miss an opportunity to say that he hopes for the ‘Japan-DPRK summit without preconditions,’” Ri said in the commentary.

The online symposium was set to be cohosted by Japan, Australia, South Korea, the United States and the European Union on Thursday.

Matsuno fires back

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno criticized North Korea at a press conference Wednesday, saying it was “totally unacceptable” for Pyongyang to criticize the holding of a U.N. symposium on the abduction of Japanese nationals and to suggest that the abduction issue had been resolved.

“The abductions are a human rights issue that must be resolved immediately. There is not a moment to lose, given the aging of the victims’ families and the time constraints involved,” he said.