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Kidnapped Japanese Suspected of Being Killed

Posted September. 19, 2002 22:51,   


After the North-Japan summit, the Japanese government is quickly making follow-up measures to deal with the main issues between Japan and North Korea, including North’s kidnapping of Japanese citizens. These issues will be discussed in a special cabinet meeting, which is part of the follow-up package. Japan plans to resolve these issues before the beginning of the talks for normalizing North-Japan relations, which will be resumed next month.

But, the Japanese citizens keep criticizing the counter-measures their government has adopted to resolve the matters regarding the kidnapped Japanese.

▽ Follow-up measures = In preparation for the resumption of the normalizing talks scheduled for next month, the Japanese government has decided to hold North-Japan Security Talks, whose participants include officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and military officers. In the talks, two governments will discuss issues only concerning the peace of the Northern East Asia such as kidnapping, unidentified ships showing up within Japanese border, and nuclear missiles. The rest of the issues such as economic aids to North will be dealt with in the upcoming negotiations for normalization.

In addition, Japan has set up its own cabinet meeting to determine its own positions on them. Furthermore, the Japanese government is considering its own compensations to the families of the kidnapped since North’s economic power does not seem to make the compensations on its own.

▽ Dispute over the issue of the kidnapped Japanese = The Asahi Shimbun reported that, right before the summit, North provided to Japan the detailed information on the 14 kidnapped including the date of death for them. But the Japanese government did not disclose the information to the press and the families of the kidnapped.

According to the provided information, among the 4 females dead, 3 died in their 20s and 1 died in 30s.

Moreover, Arimoto Keiko and Ishioka Doohru, who reportedly had lived in Pyongyang together, died on the same day. Since they died young and on the same day, many suspect that they did not die of national disease or disaster, but were killed.

In response, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda admitted to government’s hiding of that information and explained, “We just worried the ripple effects the sudden disclosure might have on our society.”

Furthermore, the Japanese government was reportedly notified unofficially by North already in January of 1999 that 3-4 of the kidnapped were alive at that time. Once getting to know of this, more and more Japanese citizens are criticizing their government for its belated response.

In the meanwhile, the Japanese police has launched an investigation to find out whether there are more Japanese kidnapped. One organization working for the kidnapped and their families argue, “Considering under various circumstances, a total of 38 people have been abducted.”

▽ Evaluation of the summit = According to the result of the survey conducted by the Asahi Shimbu on 1,065 Japanese nationwide, which was done right after the summit, 81% of the respondents showed positive attitude toward the summit, and 58% said that they are for resumption of negotiations for normalization, well exceeding the nays (29%). But 76% replied that they could not understand the matters regarding the abduction. The approval rating of Junich Koizumi’s cabinet has recorded 61%, 10% increased from the last time (51%).

Young-Ee Lee yes202@donga.com