US President Barack Obama spent a few minutes out of his busy Japan visit to speak to the families of Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea in the 70s and 80s. He pledged to work closely with the Japanese government to help resolve the issue and bring closure to the families who have not heard from their relatives in decades.
Obama was able to meet with Shigeru and Sakie Yokota, whose daughter Megumi became the symbol of the Japanese abductees after she was kidnapped when she was only 13 years old back in 1977. Her parents were able to meet Megumi’s daughter, Kim Eun Gyong, earlier this year in a rare cooperative move from Pyongyang. Sakie showed the US President pictures of their meeting and he remarked that it must have been amazing for them to meet their granddaughter for the first time. Sakie told reporters afterwards, “We thank the president for meeting us, although he is very busy. I felt he’s really a warm-hearted man.”
Obama also spent a few minutes talking to Shigeo Iizuka who is the head of the group of families of abductees. His younger sister Yakeo Taguchi was taken by North Korean soldiers in 1978 and hasn’t been heard from since. He implored Obama to support their request for a UN Security Council to come up with a resolution condemning the various human rights abuses in North Korea. “The fact that the U.S. president met with the abduction victims’ families should have an impact in North Korea and the United States,” he said. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Keiji Furuya, the minister in charge of the abduction issue, were also present during the meeting.
[ via Jiji Press ]