The families of the Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea and their supporters welcomed the White House’s official announcement on Oct. 16 that President Donald Trump will meet with them during his visit to Japan in November. They are hoping that this “will give a big boost to efforts to resolve the abduction issue.”
Sakie Yokota (81), the mother of Megumi Yokota, who was kidnapped by North Korean agents in 1977 when she was 13 years old, commented that “for many years we have been calling for the return of our children, and we will be very grateful if President Trump can lend us a hand,” though she added she has not yet been officially informed by the Japanese government.
Teruaki Masumoto (62), the younger brother of Rumiko Masumoto, who was abducted in 1978 at the age of 24, noted: “This will be a message for North Korea to understand the gravity of the abduction issue and will put a great deal of pressure on the regime.”
When it comes to North Korea, both domestic and international attention is focused on its nuclear and missile programs. But the families of the abductees have long been pleading for “the abduction issue not to be buried underground.” Kenichi Ichikawa (72), the elder brother of Shunichi Ichikawa, who was abducted with Rumiko at age 23, expressed hope to “convey [to the President] our strong desire for the return of the families.” (Abridged)