A US human rights official has visited the site in central Japan where a girl was abducted by North Korea nearly 50 years ago.
Julie Turner, US special envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, visited Niigata City on the Sea of Japan coast on Tuesday.
On November 15, 1977, 13-year-old Yokota Megumi was abducted by North Korean agents on her way home from school.
Turner viewed the path Megumi is believed to have walked along that day, guided by local police officers.
She then met with Niigata Prefecture Vice Governor Kasatori Koichi.
Kasatori asked for further support from the US to solve the abduction issue, saying that there is no time to waste as the abductees and their families are getting older.
Turner said the abductions are a terrible human rights violation. She promised that the US will continue to highlight kidnapping and other rights transgressions by North Korea.
Later she told reporters that the primary purpose of her visit is to offer continued US support on the issue to the Japanese government.
She said the day's walk made her reaffirm her commitment to prioritize the abduction issue. She also said the US government will appeal to the international community for cooperation.