After thanking United States President Donald Trump for supposedly “stating in clear terms” to Kim Jong-un the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged the matter is now between Japan and North Korea to resolve.
“Ultimately it remains Japan’s responsibility and it needs to be negotiated between Japan and North Korea,” Abe said in a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon, June 12, after the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore.
“In order to achieve this aim, first of all, President Trump directly brought up and declared to Kim Jong-un the importance and necessity of solving the problem. This is the first time this has happened,” he continued.
“Japan will put all its efforts from now to address the problem. I believe that this is an issue which needs to be solved between Japan and North Korea,” Abe said.
Over the decades, North Korean agents had abducted Japanese citizens, right within Japan, to train North Korean spies. (Check out our special coverage: Abducted: The Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea)
In his own meetings with Abe recently, Trump had promised to take up the abductions issue with Kim Jong-un. In November 2017, the families of kidnapped Japanese citizens also met with Trump in Tokyo, where the American president assured them, “The spotlight is now on the abductions issue.”
There was no mention of the abductions issue in the 4-point agreement that Trump and Kim signed in Singapore, but during a press conference afterward, Trump said there were last-minute additions to the agreement that the two countries would follow through.
Trump spoke to the Japanese Prime Minister on the phone on his way back to Washington, DC. (RELATED ARTICLE: Dear Megumi: World Leaders are Talking, and We Wait Amid Hope and Despair)
Below is the transcript of the question-and-answer session that Prime Minister had with journalists on June 12:
How do you interpret the result of the US-North Korean Summit?
I would like to express from the bottom of my heart my respect for the leadership and efforts of President Donald Trump to make this summit a reality.
This time Chairman Kim Jong-un confirmed in writing his intention of completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. We support this turn of events as a step towards a comprehensive solution to several problems regarding North Korea.
Furthermore, from our perspective as Japan, I highly value the fact that the important abductions issue, which I mentioned to President Trump recently, was brought to the fore. I want to thank President Trump for stating in clear terms this problem. I plan to have a phone call and ask him for more detailed information.
From now on, regarding the issues of North Korea’s abductions, nuclear arms and missiles, I plan to make an all-out effort and work together with the U.S., South Korea, China, Russia, and all of the international community with the aim of fully resolving these issues with North Korea
Of course, I am of the opinion that regarding the abductions problem Japan should work directly with North Korea, and the issue should be resolved between these two countries.
Was the abductions problem mentioned in the agreement?
Regarding the agreement, it is as the American side explained. However, regarding the abductions problem, ultimately it remains Japan’s responsibility and it needs to be negotiated between Japan and North Korea.
In order to achieve this aim, first of all President Trump directly brought up and declared to Kim Jong-un the importance and necessity of solving the problem. This is the first time this has happened. As President Trump clearly mentioned this for the first time, Japan will put all its efforts from now toward addressing the problem. I believe that this is an issue which needs to be solved between Japan and North Korea.