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Editorial: Converting Japan-U.S. summit outcomes into full resolution of abduction issue

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump met and discussed how to handle the U.S.-DPRK summit, which will be held at the beginning of next week.


At the joint press conference after the summit, President Trump said, “Prime Minister Abe talked about the abductions at length and with passion. I absolutely will discuss the abduction issue with North Korea.”


It is a major outcome of the Japan-U.S. summit that [Abe was able to] have the President deliver a strong statement about the abduction issue at this time when he has a face-to-face meeting with Workers’ Party of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un coming up on June 12.


Through Japan-U.S. collaboration, Abe has confronted Chairman Kim with the reality that North Korea cannot hope for [a bright] future without resolving the abductions issue.


This outcome is the result of Japan’s diplomatic efforts that have continually insisted on the importance of the abduction issue as well as the work of the group of families of Japanese abducted by North Korea over many years, in addition to the recent summit.


Prime Minister Abe indicated his desire to settle the abduction issue by holding a Japan-DPRK summit. “Japan itself must talk directly with North Korea in the final analysis. I am determined to resolve the abductions issue through talks with Chairman Kim,” he said. The Japanese government must protect the lives of the people of Japan. This declaration of resolve is a matter of course.


Concrete results have yet to be made, though. North Korea has not changed its position that the abductions issue “has already been resolved.”


This is the moment of truth.


On the condition that the abduction issue is resolved, the Prime Minister said, “Based on the Japan-North Korea Pyongyang Declaration, Japan is prepared to normalize its diplomatic relations and to provide economic cooperation.” North Korea cannot become a stable regime in the middle to long term just with the removal of the economic sanctions that will happen with denuclearization. Japan’s economic cooperation is without doubt the object of North Korea’s keen desire.


It is critical that all abductees be returned to Japan. North Korea must realize that aid from Japan is not possible without that.


We give high marks to the Japanese and U.S. leaders for agreeing to maintain sanctions and pressure toward the complete denuclearization of North Korea. They confirmed the need for implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions that call for the complete abandonment of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, as well as ballistic missiles of all ranges.   


President Trump referred to the possibility of signing some kind of agreement ending the Korean War. This must be done in a way that does not compromise the deterrence provided by the U.S. forces in South Korea.


It is precisely by maintaining these principles that we can remove the threat of North Korea and save the abductees. This is also a way to prevent the negotiations with North Korea from being “dialogue for the sake of dialogue.”

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