Citizens’ Rally to Demand the Immediate Return to Japan of All Abductees at the Same Time

October 23, 2022
[Provisional translation]
On October 23, 2022, Prime Minister Kishida attended the Citizens’ Rally to Demand the Immediate Return to Japan of All Abductees at the Same Time held in Tokyo.
Prime Minister Kishida said in his address,
“Let me offer a few words on the occasion of the citizens’ rally.
It is truly regrettable that we have not been able to bring back a single abductee since 2002. The abductions issue, one of the highest priority issues for the Kishida Cabinet, is a grave violation of human rights and we cannot be complacent about it for even a moment. My heart is wrenched when I imagine how family members felt as they passed away without being united with their loved ones.
With regard to North Korea, the Government of Japan seeks to normalize its relations with North Korea through comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern, such as the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues, and settling the unfortunate past, in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration of 2002. In particular, the abductions issue is a human rights issue with time restrictions as the families of the victims continue to age. We will do our utmost to boldly tackle the issue so that we can bring back all the abductees home at the earliest possible date.
Establishing a constructive relationship between Japan and North Korea will not only serve the interests of both sides but also contribute greatly to regional peace and security. To this end, I believe that it is critical that both Japan and I make proactive efforts and build relations between leaders. This is why I have always said that I am determined to meet with Chairman Kim Jong-Un face-to-face without any conditions, and I will do everything within my power in this regard.
The other day, we held a state funeral for the late Prime Minister ABE Shinzo, who always had great enthusiasm for the abductions issue. There was a large attendance at the ceremony, and I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation for it. I believe that we were able to hold the service for Mr. Abe in a solemn manner. At the state funeral, I once again expressed my determination toward the abductions issue, which I mentioned just now, in my memorial address.
Today, a firm, unanimous resolve of the Japanese citizens was expressed in this meeting. This will serve as a strong push toward the settlement of the abductions issue. I believe that it is this voice which will push the international community and then North Korea into action.
While expressing my sincere gratitude toward such strong support received from many people, united in purpose with those seeking the abductees’ return, I will stand at the fore as the Prime Minister and do my utmost to take on this issue, with the entire Government working as one. Let me conclude my remarks by pledging this once again at today’s meeting.”

Related Link

Archives (Archived entries for the 98th through 100th prime ministers)