Relatives of Japanese abducted by N.Korea ask US officials for support

Relatives of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea have asked senior US government officials for support to bring all the remaining abductees back. This should be done as early as possible, since not much time is left for their aged parents, the relatives added.

The group included Yokota Takuya, whose sister Megumi was abducted in 1977 at the age of 13, and Iizuka Koichiro, whose mother Taguchi Yaeko was abducted when he was one-year-old.

The group met on Tuesday in Washington with Uzra Zeya, the State Department's Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights. They also met with Daniel Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Senator Bill Hagerty, who previously served as US ambassador to Japan.

Yokota told reporters after the meetings that he had showed the officials a photo of his mother Sakie, and asked for their support. He noted that there is little time left for the aging parents of the abductees.

Yokota said he explained the group's decision, announced in February, that it will not oppose Japan lifting sanctions on North Korea if Pyongyang returns all the abductees while their parents are alive.

The group says no objections were raised by the US officials, and they agreed that Japan and the United States will work together to resolve the abduction issue.

Yokota added that the message from the relatives appeared to have resonated with everyone.