Speeches and Statements by Prime Minister Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet top page

Toward a Solution to the Abduction Issue

November 29, 2010
Prime Minister's Directions Given at the Fourth Meeting of the
Headquarters for the Abduction Issue

The abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea is an unforgiveable act, representing a grave infringement of Japan's sovereignty and a serious infringement of human rights. The Government of Japan has identified 12 separate cases of abduction, involving a total of 17 abductees. Although 5 abductees returned to Japan eight years ago, 12 more are still in captivity in North Korea, torn from their families and loved ones and living in hope of being rescued soon. In addition to these cases recognized by the government, there are others in which abduction by North Korea cannot be ruled out. The government of Japan deeply regrets this state of affairs, and acknowledges that the abduction issue has remained in deadlock for a long time. The whole government needs to work together to push ahead urgently with further measures in order to bring all the abductees home safely as soon as possible.

As we made clear at the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (September 24, 2010), Japan's basic position in respect to North Korea remains unchanged. As set down in the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, we wish to reach a comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern, including the abduction issue and North Korea's nuclear development and missile programs, to settle the unfortunate past between us, and to move to normalize diplomatic relations. Toward that end, it is absolutely indispensable to resolve the abduction issue. Further, Japan has made clear that if North Korea takes constructive and sincere steps, such as implementing its agreement with Japan, Japan is ready to respond in kind. We have continually called on North Korea to take concrete action to comply with a series of United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the joint statement of the Six Party Talks. At the present time, however, North Korea is flaunting its ongoing attempts to develop nuclear weapons, and has carried out an artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island. These provocative actions upset the peace and stability of the whole Northeast Asian region, including Japan. The Headquarters for the Abduction Issue needs to ensure that adequate countermeasures are taken.

With this in mind, and in line with the decision confirmed at the second meeting of the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue (see attached) to prioritize measures to bring out about the immediate return of all survivors and to ascertain the true facts regarding abductees whose safety is unknown, the government will focus in the immediate term on the eight points below, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of all government ministries, centered on the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue.

  1. Respond attentively to the families of abductees.

  2. Consider further measures and uphold strict law enforcement under the current legal system, taking into account North Korea's response.

  3. Continue to demand concrete actions from North Korea, including implementation of the Japan-North Korea Agreement of August 2008.

  4. Strengthen efforts to gather, analyze, and manage information on abductees and on current conditions in North Korea.

  5. Conduct thorough investigations and inquiries with respect to cases in which abduction cannot be ruled out, and continue carrying out investigations and other measures, including international investigations of suspected abductors.

  6. Carry out full and effective publicity in Japan and overseas to contribute to resolution of the abduction issue.

  7. Strengthen international cooperation with related countries and multilateral frameworks, especially with the United States, the Republic of Korea, and the United Nations.

  8. Consider all other possible measures capable of contributing to resolution of the abduction issue.

To promote comprehensive policies including strategic measures to resolve the abduction issue, we will continue close liaisons centered on the Chief and Vice-Chief of the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue.