Kishida: Abductee issue remains top priority

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has told relatives of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea that the repatriation of those still missing will be a top government priority.

Kishida told reporters on Wednesday that he had called people close to the matter the previous day, including Iizuka Shigeo who heads a group of abductees' relatives.

Kishida said he had told relatives that the abductee issue would continue to be a priority for his new Cabinet, as was the case for previous governments.

He also noted that he and US President Joe Biden had affirmed in their phone conversation on Tuesday that their countries would work together on the issue.

Kishida added that he has taken to heart the relatives' long-standing thoughts on the matter. He said his government would do all it could to repatriate the abductees as quickly as possible.