Relatives of abductees urge Japanese govt. to resolve issue

The relatives of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea decades ago, have urged Japan's government to help all remaining abductees return home as soon as possible. They also demanded Pyongyang make an early decision to realize the return of their loved ones.

The relatives adopted a resolution listing these requests at a rally on Sunday. Prime Minister Kishida Fumio attended the gathering of roughly 800 people.

Yokota Takuya, a younger brother of abductee Yokota Megumi, gave a speech. He heads a group of relatives of Japanese abductees.

Yokota said the group would not object to Japan offering assistance to help North Korea address an ongoing coronavirus outbreak, if Pyongyang promises to return all remaining abductees to Japan immediately.

Yokota said the relatives of some abductees are advanced in age, and are anxiously awaiting the return of their loved ones.

He emphasized that Japan is responsible for resolving the abduction issue, not the United States or the international community.

Prime Minister Kishida stressd that his Cabinet places top priority on the issue. He explained that during his summit with the US president last week, Joe Biden expressed his support for an immediate resolution to the matter.

Kishida said he will lead his government in doing everything it can to realize the return of all remaining abductees at the earliest date possible.

He repeated his determination to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without any preconditions.

The Japanese 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 remain unaccounted for.