Kishida Voices Regret for Failing to Resolve Abduction Issue

Politics

Minamisoma, Fukushima Pref., Sept. 17 (Jiji Press)--Japan's failure to achieve the additional return of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea since five victims were handed over in 2002 is deeply regretful, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Saturday.

As Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the Pyongyang Declaration for a resolution of the issue of North Korea's abductions signed by then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Kishida reiterated his resolve to "face directly" Kim Jong Un, the current leader of the reclusive nation, without attaching any preconditions, as well as to "seize every opportunity to act with full force."

"We as the government must accept the sense of urgency expressed by the families (of the abductees) who strongly desire a resolution," Kishida told reporters during a visit to the city of Minamisoma in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan.

"There is no change to our plan of aiming for a resolution to the issues of abductions, nuclear weapons and missiles based on the declaration, and normalizing diplomatic relations," he said.

While noting that Japan will cooperate with the United States and other countries, the prime minister said that "it is most important that our country takes the initiative."

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