As Japan has sought North Korea to re-open investigations on abducted Japanese nationals from decades ago, it seems that the communist state is intent on milking the request with their own set of demands. Aside from allowing a direct charter flight between the countries and removal of sanctions by Japan, a ferry for travel between the two countries is among the recent demands made by North Korea.
Despite the numerous demands, Japan seems somewhat willing, as North Korea’s acquiescence to begin investigations again. However, Japan is tentative to give in to all demands, but is considering allowing the charter flights. Many observers are waiting to see if Japan will permit a ferryboat to travel from North Korea’s Wonsan to Japan’s Niigata, considering the latter is the hometown of Megumi Yokota, one of the abducted 17 nationals. Some rumors also say that illegal drugs were smuggled to Japan through the past ferryboats from that route.
Ken Kato, a Tokyo-based human rights activist, remains skeptical on North Korea’s statements that it would look again into the missing Japanese, saying he believes the government is privy to where the survivors are. He thinks Japan “needs safeguards included in any agreement” that will be in place for a short period of time to ensure North Korea will act on their word.