Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday he was determined to meet North Korea’s leader to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents, maintaining an offer to talk despite the country’s missile launches.
“I am determined to meet with Chairman Kim Jong Un face-to-face, with no preconditions, to resolve the all-important abduction issue,” Abe said in a policy speech at the beginning of a parliamentary session.
In 2002, North Korea admitted its agents had kidnapped 13 Japanese decades before. Japan says 17 of its citizens were abducted, five of whom were repatriated. North Korea has said eight are dead and another four never entered the country.
Abe has vowed to pursue the issue until all of the abductees come home.
Staunch US ally Japan and North Korea have been rivals for decades. During periods of tension, North Korea has threatened to rain destruction down on Japan, and North Korea has test-fired missiles into the seas near Japan and even over it.
Japan has condemned North Korea’s missile test this week, which Abe called a violation of United Nations sanctions.
North Korea said it had successfully test-fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile from the sea, to contain external threats and bolster self-defense, ahead of fresh nuclear talks with the United States.
Wednesday’s launch was the most provocative by North Korea since it resumed dialogue with the United States in 2018 and a reminder by Pyongyang of the weapons capability it has been aggressively developing.
“As for the North Korean situation, we will do our utmost to secure the safety of the people, while working closely with the United States and cooperating with the international community,” Abe said in his speech.
Turning to ties with South Korea, soured by a feud over wartime labor that has spilled over into trade and security matters, Abe reiterated a call for Seoul to observe a promise to Tokyo.
Last October, South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered some Japanese firms to compensate Koreans forced to work in their mines and factories during World War II.
Japan, which says the matter was settled by a 1965 treaty, calls the court decision a violation of international law.
“South Korea is an important neighbor. I would like to ask them to observe a promise made between nations, based on international law.”
North Korean projectile may have breached Japan’s EEZ: TokyoOne of the projectiles fired by North Korea early Wednesday appears to have fallen into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, the top government ... World News
Japan sees NKorea missile, China space activity as threatJapan raised its caution level about North Korea’s missile capability, saying in a defense report that the country resumed missile tests while ... World News
UN Security Council to meet Tuesday on North Korea launchesThe UN Security Council will hold closed consultations on Tuesday on North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches, diplomats said Thursday. ... World News
US urges restraint after North Korea fires ballistic missileThe United States called on Pyongyang on Wednesday to “refrain from provocations” and remain committed to nuclear negotiations after North ... World News