Government Holds Symposium For Abductees' Kin

Government holds symposium for abductees' kin

Relatives of those abducted by North Korea have called on that country's leader Kim Jong Un to swiftly return their loved ones.

Their appeals came on Saturday at a symposium in Tokyo sponsored by the Japanese government.

The participants included family members of Thai and US nationals also believed to have been abducted and the parents of US college student Otto Warmbier, who died in 2017 soon after being released from detention in the North.

Takuya Yokota, whose older sister Megumi was abducted 42 year ago, noted there are abductees from Japan and many other countries.

Yokota said waiting for help is unbearable for them, and that the abductees' relatives are getting old and some have passed away.

He said he wants Chairman Kim Jong Un to choose now whether he will be remembered as North Korea's third successive ruler who has repeatedly violated human rights, or as a respected leader who acted decisively to resolve the issue.

Koichiro Iizuka, the son of abductee Yaeko Taguchi, said the families will not oppose the normalization Japan-North Korea relations if all abductees are returned soon.

He added that the families only want to lead quiet, normal lives with their loved ones and that they are only asking the Japanese government for their return.

A family member of a Thai woman who went missing in Macao 40 years ago also called for international efforts.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government will strengthen cooperation with the United States and other countries to have all the abductees returned as soon as possible.