(Sankei: January 13, 2016 – p. 2)
North Korea has been sending out self-serving messages ever since it launched its nuclear test. These are not worth listening to.
Japan is joining hands with the U.S. and other countries to lead discussions at the UN Security Council on imposing new sanctions on the regime. On the domestic front, it is considering stepping up its unilateral sanctions.
Some members of the ruling parties are growing cautious about imposing tougher sanctions, as they fear such steps could delay efforts to address the abductions of Japanese nationals. But this does not make sense. Japan upholds the principle of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action” in its dealings with North Korea. This leaves the country little choice but to step up its sanctions. To seek a comprehensive solution to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development and abduction issue, Japan should display an attitude of not compromising.
No one is more desperate to be reunited with people abducted by North Korea than the families of the victims. Even so, some of them are calling for tougher sanctions on the North and urging the government to take this opportunity to let the world know about the abduction issue.
The families of the victims understand well that North Korea is not easy to negotiate with. Their voices and anger must be shared.
Japan lifted some of its unilateral sanctions when North Korea set up a special investigative committee on the abduction issue in July 2014 based on an agreement that Tokyo and Pyongyang reached in Stockholm in May the same year. But the North did not deliver on its promises. While no progress was made to return the abductees back to Japan, it conducted nuclear test.
Dialogue without pressure is not permissible. And vicious acts should not be overlooked. It makes sense that Japan should reinstate the eased sanctions and impose additional sanctions banning remittances to the North in principle. There is concern that efforts to resolve the abduction issue will go adrift, but talks on the issue are already stalled.
While the world is watching Pyongyang’s reckless acts Japan should make the international community more aware of the abduction issue.
Starting this month, Japan serves as a non-permanent member at the UNSC over the next two years. It should work closely with the U.S., Britain and other countries to send the message that the North Korean abduction issue, in addition to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development, poses a threat to peace and stability, and make an effort to build an international mechanism to address this concern comprehensively. Japan should demand that the UNSC include the abduction issue and other violations of human rights into a new sanctions resolution.
The budget committee in the House of Councillors spent a substantial amount of time debating whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used the abduction issue for political purposes during a Jan. 12 session. Legislators should keep in mind who wants Japan’s public opinion to be divided and give serious thought [to the crisis facing Japan].