Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he will closely coordinate with President Donald Trump on efforts to settle the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea ahead of the second summit between the U.S. leader and Kim Jong Un, set for next week. Abe, who met with family members of abduction victims Tuesday, told a Diet committee that he will ask Trump to convey to the North Korean leader his view on how to settle the abduction issue. "I want to closely coordinate our policies (with Trump) to resolve North Korea's nuclear, missile and -- most importantly -- abduction issues," the prime minister said. Abe and Trump were expected to talk via phone later in the day. When Trump met with Kim for the first time in Singapore in June, he took up the abduction issue at Abe's request.
WASHINGTON – Family members of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s on Wednesday pressed the reclusive state to immediately return all kidnap victims. They made their demand in the United States ahead of the upcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump has promised to raise the abduction issue during the meeting. Speaking after a meeting with former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage just outside Washington, Takuya Yokota, whose older sister was abducted, said he was encouraged by Armitage's comments that Kim has no right to say the issue has been settled and that it is only the victims' families who can declare it closed. Yokota's sister, Megumi, was taken from Niigata Prefecture while on her way home from school in 1977.
WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump repeatedly took up the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea in his talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in February, a senior U.S. official said Friday. Matt Pottinger, senior director for Asia at the National Security Council, disclosed the information at a meeting in Washington with family members of abduction victims. Pottinger pledged U.S. support for efforts to resolve the decades-old issue. According to Lower House lawmaker Keiji Furuya, Pottinger explained that at the bilateral summit, Trump referred to the abduction issue repeatedly, although Kim tried to change the subject of their talks. Furuya, who chairs a group of lawmakers working on the abduction issue, joined the meeting between Pottinger and the family members of abductees.
NEW YORK - Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called Friday for an early resolution to the decades-old issue of North Korea's abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s, saying it is a "global challenge." Speaking at an event at U.N. headquarters in New York, he said the government has been injecting "maximum effort" to realize the return of all abductees "at the earliest possible timing." "We are at a crucial moment as family members age. We will not miss any opportunity to take bold action to achieve the earliest possible resolution," Suga said. Japan officially lists 17 citizens as abduction victims and suspects North Korea's involvement in many more disappearances.