After Reshuffle, Abe Remains on Rocky Road over Abductions


Tokyo, Sept. 18 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe replaced some of key personnel in charge of the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals in last week's cabinet reshuffle, demonstrating afresh his determination to resolve the decades-long problem.

Abe, whose final term of office as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is set to end in September 2021, is desperately hoping to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to pave the way for resolving the abduction issue, which he calls one of his administration's most important policy challenges.

But Kim has signaled no intention to accept a tete-a-tete meeting with Abe, and a resolution to the issue is nowhere in sight.

"In an all-Japan effort, my administration must come together to resolve the abduction issue," Abe said at his meeting in Tokyo on Monday with family members of abduction victims, including Sakie Yokota, whose daughter, Megumi, was kidnapped to North Korea in 1977 at the age of 13. "We have no time to waste," Abe stressed, reiterating his wish to hold a meeting with Kim at an early date.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who was kept in the positions of the top government spokesman and minister for the abduction issue in the cabinet shake-up, has said, "I'll continue working hard (to resolve the issue) under the prime minister."

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Jiji Press