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Abducted: The Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea

Dear Megumi: We Told the Prime Minister This Might Be Our Last Chance




How are you, dear Megumi?


Another year has flown by so quickly and it is already April. As spring enters its full bloom, your father and I had an opportunity to admire the cherry blossoms. A close friend helped us visit the Imperial Palace and other places in the city center so that we could enjoy the beautiful blossoms from inside a car.


The beautiful scenery filled our hearts with cheer. We have been depressed and discouraged from illness and aging, but the brilliant blossoms and encouragement from friends have helped us feel hopeful about the future again.


Megumi dear, you also loved flowers when you were a young girl, running around the hills so freely. I found myself more than ever longing to be with you to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Japanese cherry blossoms, filled with the power of life and hope.


It has already been 20 years since we started campaigning for your rescue—20 years since your father and I vowed to save you. And yet there has been no progress—many victims, beginning with you, remain trapped in the darkness of your abduction.



There have been many hardships and continuous frustrations, but the abduction issue has now come to a crucial stage. The leaders of the United States and South Korea have decided to meet with the North Korean side to discuss the future. It seems there will be a summit meeting between President Donald Trump, who promised to lend his power in the fight for the return of the abduction victims, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.


We the families don’t understand the complex political and international situation. However, it is my strong belief that true peace cannot be achieved without facing the brutal, ruthless, and inhumane abduction issue that has continued for 40 years.


We found out that you were in North Korea in 1997. The Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea (AFVKN) was founded that same year and our lives have been focused on your rescue ever since. There were moments when we thought a resolution was at hand, but our hopes have been betrayed over and over again, frequently thrusting us into despair. The violent ups and downs have been unbearable. Despite our helpless feelings, the families carry on, knowing we don’t have much time left.  


The other day, the AFVKN families met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and pleaded with him use all his power to resolve the abduction issue. Prime Minister Abe will soon meet President Trump in the US.


All family members together told the Prime Minister of our feeling that this may be the last chance to save the victims. We asked him to make use of every opportunity to break down the towering walls so that every one of the victims can set foot on the soil of their homeland, again. I also expressed my hope that Prime Minister Abe would show the rest of the world that Japan is absolutely determined to resolve this issue.


Don’t be deceived by North Korea’s tricks


I went to the Cabinet Office in January, where I told your classmates and Katsunobu Kato, the Minister for the Abduction Issue: “We have done all we can to save the abductees. I feel like there is nothing else we can do.”


Since then, people have kindly expressed their concern for me. It seems like they think I have given up on you.


Your father and I are old, exhausted, and often ill. I haven’t been able to exert myself as I used to these recent years. It is surprising to think that I managed to survive all these years of campaigning throughout Japan for your return.


Now, I am convinced that it is the nation, the government, and the politicians that have the duty to rescue and bring all the victims back to their homeland.


The fathers, mothers, and siblings of the victims, though just ordinary people, have been united in our continuous appeal for your rescue. Despite never knowing which way to turn, I have spoken before many people in so many places, appealing for your rescue with all my heart and soul. Especially because I am your mother, I must keep trying, exhausting all options while thinking of every conceivable way to rescue you and the other children. I will never give up. However, we the families are aging and no longer have the luxury of time, so we should take this big chance to move toward a resolution of the abductions now.


There is meaning in even the harshest, unbearable truths. God knows all things and works to make everything turn out for the best. Recently, I have become more certain that all the victims and their family members are part of an important mission and divine plan.


North Korea has so far broken many promises and spoken many lies. I hope the world leaders will remember North Korea’s tricks and not be deceived again as they proceed with these negotiations. I continue to pray that Kim Jong-un will open his heart and walk the right path towards true peace.


Most importantly, Japan itself must take the initiative to resolve the abduction issue. This is an important time and I strongly hope that all politicians will give their full commitment and use their collective wisdom to face this crisis.


Megumi dear, I am certain we will meet very soon. Your father and I are frantically doing our very best. Please believe, and wait for us.



(Click here to read the original article in Japanese.)


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