Ex-abductee urges Japan to rescue other victims

One of the Japanese nationals who returned home after being abducted by North Korea has urged the government to do more to resolve the issue of abductees who have not been accounted for.

Hasuike Kaoru spoke to NHK ahead of the 19th anniversary on Friday since he and four other abductees returned to Japan.

The government says at least 17 citizens were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 80s. Five returned in 2002, but the other 12 are still unaccounted for.

Hasuike referred to the fact that only two of the missing abductees' parents are still alive, the father of Arimoto Keiko and the mother of Yokota Megumi.

Hasuike said the chief goal in trying to bring the remaining abductees home is allowing them to be reunited with their parents. But he said such reunions can no longer be realized for most of them, as their parents have died.

Hasuike said it is important to allow the surviving parents to see their daughters again. He said the government must consider ways to make such reunions possible.

Hasuike proposed that the government separate its concerns about North Korea's nuclear program from the abduction issue. He said that could open the way for Japan and North Korea to hold a summit at an early date.

Hasuike said the government needs to consider what it can offer to North Korea to resolve the abduction issue, and convey its intention to Pyongyang.

He said Pyongyang will only pay attention to Japan at some point in the distant future unless it specifically knows what it gains by settling the issue.

Hasuike said the government has to tell North Korea more strongly that Tokyo will not give Pyongyang what it wants unless the remaining abductees return home while the surviving parents are still alive.

He said the government needs to clarify the benefits North Korea will receive in exchange for a sincere response, and the disadvantage it will incur in exchange for inaction.