Monday, July 22, 2024

Family members of Japanese abductees give speeches at United Nations symposium

Families of Japanese Abductees Call for International Cooperation at UN Symposium

Relatives of Japanese Abductees Address UN Symposium, Call for International Cooperation

In a heartfelt plea to the international community, relatives of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea addressed an online United Nations symposium, urging for collaborative efforts to resolve the issue that has haunted them for decades.

Organized by Japan, the United States, Australia, South Korea, and the European Union, Thursday’s event saw emotional speeches from family members of the abducted individuals, including Yokota Takuya, whose older sister Megumi was taken in 1977 at the young age of 13.

Yokota emphasized the urgency of the situation, pointing out that only two of the remaining abductees’ parents are still alive – Megumi’s 88-year-old mother, Yokota Sakie, and Arimoto Akihiro, the 95-year-old father of another abductee, Arimoto Keiko. He called for swift action to facilitate reunions between the abductees and their loved ones while the elderly parents are still well.

Concerns were also raised about lumping the abduction issue with North Korea’s nuclear and missile development problems. Iizuka Koichiro, whose mother Taguchi Yaeko was abducted when he was just a year old, stressed the need to address the abductions separately as lives are at stake, appealing for international cooperation to bring his family back together.

Despite Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s efforts to initiate high-level talks with North Korea, little progress has been made. The Japanese government has confirmed that 17 of its citizens were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 80s, with only five returning home after a summit in 2002, leaving 12 still missing.

As the families continue to endure the pain of separation, they are relying on the support of the global community to keep the pressure on North Korea until the abductions issue is finally resolved and their loved ones come back home.

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