Meeting with the Fukui Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea, Mr. CHIMURA Yasushi, and Others

January 24, 2023
[Provisional translation]
On January 24, 2023, Prime Minister Kishida held a meeting with members of the Fukui Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea, Mr. CHIMURA Yasushi, and others at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Prime Minister Kishida said in his remarks,
"Thank you very much for taking time out of your extremely busy schedule and coming all the way here, and in my capacity, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to members of the Fukui Association, including its advisor, Mayor Matsuzaki, for its various forms of meticulous support and response from the return of Mr. and Ms. Chimura to Japan up to now.
As Mayor has just noted, I recently paid a round of visits to various countries, including France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, as the president of the G7. On those occasions, I gained the understanding about the response to the abductions issue from all the countries and affirmed collaboration with them. With regard to the United States in particular, the country’s commitment to the resolution of the abductions issue was included in the Joint Statement of the United States and Japan. Thus I felt that President Biden and others had a very strong stance in tackling the issue.
While making such appeals to the international community is of course important, what is crucial after all is Japan’s own initiatives. I bear in mind that we must not forget this.
I believe that we must sustain our efforts after once again confirming our basic policy of continuously urging North Korea to resolve outstanding issues of concern, including the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues, and upon comprehensive settlement of these issues, striving to normalize relations with North Korea, in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration.
We must share the recognition with the world that the abductions issue is an important human rights issue with time restrictions. In doing so, I believe that the voice of citizens, or their earnest call and wish for the return of abductees at the earliest possible date, will serve as a push more than anything else. Mr. Chimura has just mentioned educational activities, and I have been informed that courses to raise awareness of the abductions issue are offered in Obama City. I find these activities highly encouraging and extend my sincere gratitude for them. At the same time, the Government, on its part, intends to put even more effort into its own actions mentioned before and awareness raising activities for young people.
The Chief Cabinet Secretary, who is in charge of the abductions issue, is present today. The Government will squarely tackle the issue as a top priority, and as you noted, I myself will meet face-to-face with Chairman Kim Jong-Un without any conditions. I have repeatedly expressed my determination and resolve to do so, and while cherishing such will, I intend to continue my efforts to firmly seize every opportunity. Hence, I would appreciate various forms of continued guidance and advice from you.
Once again, I express my deep appreciation for such cooperation from you. Thank you very much."

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