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Remarks With Japanese Minister for the Abduction Issue Jin Matsubara Prior to Their Meeting


Remarks
Glyn Davies
Special Representative for North Korea Policy 
Tokyo, Japan
May 25, 2012

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MINISTER MATSUBARA: (In translation) I heard you met the families this morning. They can speak English very well.

At the outset, I would like to reiterate the importance of the U.S.-Japan coordination on the abduction issue. And besides the U.S. concrete action, I think it is also very important that the U.S. side express that they are sharing the feelings of the abductees and the abductee families. In that sense, I think it is very important that you met the Yokotas and Chairman Iizuka and Mr. Masumoto. I think Mr. Yokota has already told you this, but we understand that it is important to stress that time is limited. For instance, supporting that Ms. Megumi Yokota is coming back to Japan, I think it is very important that daughter and parents have each other and share their best feelings. In that sense, it is very important to solve the issue while the parents are still healthy. That feeling is not only with the Yokotas, but all the Japanese citizens are sharing those kinds of feelings. So, you may have an opportunity to talk to the press after this meeting, and I would be very happy if you could express your thought that you share the feelings of the families. I think that it is very important that a person like you, who is in charge of the negotiations with North Korea, continue to express that kind of thought that you share the feelings of the victims – besides making a concrete negotiation urging action, I think that kind of thing is also very important. Having said that, I would be very happy to listen to what you have to say about the negotiations with North Korea and the situation in North Korea after the people of the press have left.

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Yes, absolutely. First of all, thank you very much, Minister, for hosting us to this lunch and for this meeting. When I first came to Tokyo almost six months ago, the very first meeting that I held was with the families of the abductees and the organizations representing them. There was a delegation from Tokyo in Washington a couple of weeks ago, and I participated in a meeting at that point with representatives of the families and members of the Diet who came along to discuss the issue of abductions.

MINISTER MATSUBARA: (In translation) Talking about that delegation, I wanted to be one of them. But because of the situation in the Diet in this country, I couldn’t make it, and I’m quite sorry about that. As a matter of fact, as Secretary-General of the Parliamentary League for Abduction Issues, I have continuously visited Washington, accompanying the delegation in the past couple of years.

AMBASSADOR DAVIES: Well, we would hope very much that you can come back again in the future. But the message that I delivered when I first came here in December of last year is the same message that I conveyed a couple of weeks ago in Washington and again this morning with the Yokotas and the representatives of family members, which is that the United States understands and sympathizes deeply with the human pain that they have felt for many decades about their relatives. Whenever we are in negotiations with the North Koreans, we raise this issue. And we impress upon them, we say to them, that it is essential that they understand that there will be no ultimate resolution of the differences between North Korea and the United States and the Six Parties unless they resolve this issue – and in particular, unless they keep their promise, their undertaking that they made back in August of 2008 to reinvestigate the cases of abductees. There is great sympathy in the United States among the people of the United States.

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