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After 40 years, Victim's Families Urge to Resolve the North Korean Abductions


After 40 years, Victim's Families Urge to Resolve the North Korean Abductions


Yet, North Korea lied. It said that the other eight abduction victims including Megumi Yokota had died. No proof of death was provided. North Korea brought out a variety of documents, many of which were suspected of being fabrications. It also presented what it claimed were the ashes of the victims. When the Japanese government examined the ashes, though, it was found that they were the remains of unrelated persons. The victims who returned to Japan said that, after the dates North Korea asserted the other abduction victims had died, they had seen the those victims alive in North Korea and also heard from others that they were still alive.

Not only the families of abduction victims, but also the Japanese government, enumerating the evidence, asserts that the North Korean contentions are a lie. Furthermore, the Japanese government is demanding that North Korea return the living abduction victims to Japan immediately. Inside the organization of the current Japanese government is the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue. The head of this office is the Prime Minister himself. The work of the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue is to collect intelligence about the abduction victims and appeal for support on this issue both inside and outside Japan.

There are those in Japan for whom, in addition to the 17 abduction victims recognized by the government, the possibility of yet additional cases of North Korean abduction cannot be ruled out. The non-government organization called the Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea, known as COMJAN, lists approximately 470 people in this category. The Japanese police also are investigating the cases of more than 800 people for whom the possibility of North Korean abduction cannot be dismissed. The Japanese government is now demanding the immediate repatriation of all abduction victims, whether or not they are officially recognized.

Since 2002, North Korea has not returned a single Japanese abduction victim. Meanwhile, the victims’ family members have passed away, one after another. It has become increasingly difficult to continue their rescue activities as the remaining family members’ age.

Despite this, the families are continuing to demand return of the victims and campaigning for support throughout various parts of the country. The families know merely the fact that the abduction victims were kidnapped by North Korea. It is unknown where they are in North Korea, what they are doing, how they live and whether or not they are well.

Where are they now?

Even though there is information that abduction victims are alive, the families cannot meet the victims, or know what they are currently doing. It is a natural human emotion to want to see, at least once more, their living family members who had been so unreasonably snatched away. Therefore the families can never give up the rescue effort.

Megumi Yokota’s mother, Sakie, speaking at the April 9, rally, appealed to everyone to, “once a day, please replace the face of the abduction victims with the face of your own child, and remember us.”

It is not that the abduction victims were kidnapped by North Korea because of any wrong-doing. Some just happened to be in the place at the time when North Korean spies also happened to be there. Others just happened to meet certain conditions desired by North Korea, so they were just taken away.

In other words, any Japanese person could have become a victim of abduction. The abduction issue is not a special problem confined to the families of the victims. It is a common issue that must be resolved for all Japanese. “We want All Japan to come together and united we will resolve the abduction issue.” This is what the families of abduction victims wish for as they continue their appeal.

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