The families of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea are to visit the UN headquarters in New York to appeal for cooperation to bring their loved ones home.
Takuya Yokota, the younger brother of abductee Megumi Yokota, and Koichiro Iizuka, the son of abductee Yaeko Taguchi, left Tokyo's Haneda airport on Friday. They were accompanied by people whose missing family members may have been taken to the North.
The group will take part in a symposium on North Korea's human rights issues at the UN headquarters on Friday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga will join them. He also serves as the minister in charge of the abduction issue.
Yokota told reporters before his departure that he cannot forgive North Korea for separating the families for more than 40 years. He said the relatives have been working hard to bring their loved ones home, and he wants to ask all countries to support their efforts.
He added that he hopes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will make a bold decision to allow all the abductees to return home.
Iizuka said he wants to appeal for cooperation to bring the abductees home as soon as possible. He added that he wants to work with Suga and senior US officials to achieve this goal.
In February, the abductees' families wrote a message to the North Korean leader, asking him to return their loved ones.