The Japanese Mission to the European Union (EU) on Wednesday night, May 3, held a screening of the animé Megumi in the Belgian capital of Brussels.
The animé details the abduction of 13-year-old Megumi Yokota (now 53 years old) and her family’s efforts to secure her safe return to Japan. It highlights North Korean human rights issues, including the abduction of Japanese nationals.
Intended for representatives of the EU, this was the first time that both Japanese government ministers and abductees’ family members were both present at a screening.
The screening was organized to coincide with a visit by Katsunobu Kato, Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue; Takuya Yokota, 48, brother of Megumi Yokota and secretary general of the Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea; and Koichiro Iizuka, 40, son of Yaeko Taguchi, who was abducted when he was 22 years and is now 61, and deputy secretary general of Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea.
They came to Belgium to raise awareness of the abduction issue within Europe. Around 50 members of the European parliament and international officials attended the screening.
In his opening address, Minister Kato said, “We hope there will be a deeper understanding of the seriousness of the human rights situation in North Korea, and contribution to efforts aimed at resolving the issue.”
A video message from Megumi’s father, Shigeru, and mother, Sakie, was played after the film screening. Attendees watched with somber expressions, with some wiping away tears.
Speaking after the screening, Takuya Yokota said: “Many abductees, including my sister, are captive, unable to return home. Such grave human rights infringements must not be overlooked.”
Mr Iizuka, having mentioned North Korea as a security threat, highlighted the tragedy of the abduction issue, saying, “It is not just that they are continuing to threaten lives.”
At a reception after the screening, various members of the European parliament were seen talking to Mr Yokota and Mr Iizuka. Some of them were saying, “I was moved by your efforts,” “Supporting you is our highest priority,” and “We must consider the best course of action.”
Hideo Miyashita is the Sankei Shimbun Berlin bureau chief. He covers this story from Brussels.
Check out JAPAN Forward’s special coverage of the issue of North Korean abduction of Japanese citizens.
(Click here to read the original article in Japanese)