Abductee families renew call for Japan, North Korea to resolve issue

Families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea have renewed their call for a swift resolution of the issue so that aging parents can be reunited with their children.

The families' group and their supporters held a rally in Tokyo on Saturday. About 800 people took part, including Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

Group leader Yokota Takuya said 95-year-old Arimoto Akihiro, the father of Arimoto Keiko, and his own 88-year-old mother Sakie are the only surviving parents of the victims.

His older sister Megumi was abducted in 1977 when she was 13 years old.

He called the abduction issue a human rights and humanitarian matter with a limited window of time.

He urged the government to continue negotiations without watering down the demand that all victims be returned immediately.

Yokota Sakie said her family has been waiting for Megumi's return without knowing where she is. She urged North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to change his mind and return the victims to their parents.

Former abduction victim Soga Hitomi, who returned to Japan 22 years ago, also spoke at the rally. Her mother Miyoshi was abducted with her in 1978 and her whereabouts remain unknown.

Soga said Sunday is Mother's Day in Japan but she has been unable to celebrate the occasion for 46 years, adding that she cannot understand why she and her mother have to endure such a fate.

She also said time is running out and she hopes that all victims will return home as soon as possible.

The participants adopted a resolution that calls for the government to bring all the victims home together immediately and for North Korea to decide to repatriate the victims.