A Japanese man who spent more than two decades in North Korea after being abducted has renewed his call for the government to bring back all the other abductees still left behind.
Kaoru Hasuike told NHK in an interview that Japan should do its utmost to hold a summit with North Korea as soon as possible. He said that he believes a summit would be a great opportunity to help realize the early return of all the abductees.
Hasuike and his wife were taken from Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast by North Korean agents in 1978.
Tuesday marks 17 years since they, along with three other abductees, were repatriated following a Japan-North Korea summit in 2002.
Hasuike told NHK that if he were still in North Korea, he would not feel his life was worth living.
He stressed that none of the other abductees have since returned home and for all that time, they have been denied the chance to live in a free society.
Hasuike said that although the abduction issue was reportedly raised in the US-North Korea summit talks, no progress has been made.
He emphasized Japan should not just stand by and watch developments in US-North Korea summits.
He said Tokyo should be prepared to respond to any situation while calling for the cooperation of other countries, as the abductions are regarded as one of Japan's most urgent issues.
Hasuike pointed out that North Korea must also be considering how to deal with the issue and that it is important to let the North understand that returning the abductees is the option that brings big gains for the least cost.
Hasuike is an associate professor of an university in his hometown, Kashiwazaki City, in Niigata Prefecture. He has been touring Japan to give lectures on the abduction issue.