Abductees' families seek US cooperation

Abductees' families seek US cooperation

Family members of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea have renewed their request for US cooperation to bring the abductees home as early as possible.

Takuya Yokota, a younger brother of abductee Megumi Yokota, is visiting the US for the first time since the inauguration of President Donald Trump's administration.

He said at a symposium in Washington on Wednesday that his sister was abducted by North Korean agents on her way home from school at the age of 13, and has been in detention since then for 40 years.

Yokota said past negotiations with North Korea reveal that a soft approach has not made any progress at all, and that pressure can lead to a resolution. He urged the US to again put North Korea on its list of terrorism-supporting countries.

Also at the gathering, a family member of an American man appealed for Japan-US cooperation to settle the abduction cases. The man disappeared in 2004. The US House of Representatives finds it likely that he was abducted by North Korea.

Before the symposium, Yokota met a ranking US government official and lawmakers in Congress to seek assistance on the matter.

Japanese governing Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Eriko Yamatani is accompanying the families. Yamatani told reporters that she thinks Japan and the US share a common determination to resolve not only the issues of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, but also the abduction cases.