The stakes are high in this week’s Hanoi summit meeting between United States President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un. Much attention has been given to the important issue of whether progress can be made with North Korea on its weapons of mass destruction and missile programs.
However, also on the table and of equal importance is whether steps can be taken to end the pain and suffering of victims and their families from the North’s abduction of Japanese and other foreign citizens in past decades. These victims were taken from their homelands and ordinary lives by operatives of earlier North Korean leaders. This is Kim Jong Un’s chance to end that sordid chapter in North Korea’s past and make his own bid to bring new prosperity and hope to the country he leads.
The families, joined by the non-governmental organization seeking rescue of the Japanese victims, take their plea directly to Chairman Kim Jong Un in a letter addressed to him below, asking that he send their loved ones home now.
A Message to the Leader of North Korea
From the Association of Families of Victims (AFVKN) and
National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea (NARKN)
“Please take the decision to send home all abductees together at one time, immediately”
We have been carrying out a national campaign to rescue abducted Japanese citizens since 1997. AFVKN is the association of family members, the parents, brothers, sisters and children of abduction victims. NARKN is a national volunteer organization to support the efforts of the families to rescue their loved ones.
Our sole purpose is the return of all abductees. We seek nothing more. Please reflect upon the excruciating pain and heartbreak endured by the parents and other family members who have been waiting for the return of their loved ones for decades.
Last year, Chairman Kim Jong Un was very actively engaged in summit diplomacy. To our regret, a summit meeting with Japan did not materialize. Yet, at the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting held in June 2018, a message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe concerning the abduction issue must have been conveyed to Chairman Kim through President Trump.
This year, Prime Minister Abe delivered his annual policy speech to the nation on January 28. In it he stated: “We must break the shell of mutual distrust in order to resolve the most important issue of the abductions. As a next step, I intend to face Chairman Kim Jong Un directly and act decisively, without missing any opportunity. We will clear the unfortunate past with North Korea with the goal of proceeding toward normalization of diplomatic relations.”
We have no intention of obstructing the normalization of relations by acquiring secrets from those returning home, if all abductees are returned together at one time, immediately.
We wish to firmly emphasize that the family members of AFVKN sincerely desire to live a quiet daily life with the returning abductees and NARKN only asks the Japanese government to materialize that goal.
Here and now we strongly urge Chairman Kim Jong Un to “please take the decision to send home all abductees together at one time, immediately.”
Tokyo, February 17, 2019
Addressed to the Honorable Kim Jong Un,
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
The Association of the Families of Japanese
Kidnapped by North Korea (AFVKN)
The National Association for the Rescue of Japanese
Kidnapped by North Korea (NARKN)
Author: JAPAN Forward