Kato: Policy on abduction issue will never change

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu says a new government will do all it can to resolve the issue of Japanese abductees.

Kato also serves as the minister in charge of the abduction issue.

Kato made the remarks on Saturday when he virtually joined a meeting of a support group for relatives of Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea decades ago.

One of the victims, Yokota Megumi, would be turning 57 on Tuesday. She was abducted at the age of 13.

Kato said that five abductees returned to Japan in 2002, but the Japanese government has not been able to secure the return of any others or provide the path to a solution.

He apologized to the victims who he said must be eagerly looking forward to their homecoming, as well as to their relatives and other people concerned.

He said that even with a change of government, Japan will continue to closely cooperate with relevant countries and do all it can by taking every opportunity possible so that the abductees can return home as early as possible.

Kato said the policy will be upheld by a new government that is set to be formed next week.

He stressed that the government has a strong will to resolve the abduction issue at any cost.