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Ruling, opposition parties hail U.S.-DPRK summit, but voice concern over lack of information on abduction, nuclear issues

The ruling and opposition camps are hailing the convening of a U.S.-DPRK summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Workers’ Party of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un on June 12, but many have voiced concern over the lack of information regarding North Korea’s denuclearization and the abduction of Japanese nationals. Both the ruling and opposition parties are closely watching to see how the follow-on negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea develop, as well as moves to convene a summit between Tokyo and Pyongyang.


Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Fumio Kishida welcomed the U.S.-North Korea summit by saying that “it will lead to addressing concerns about nuclear and missile development and the abduction issue and Japan must think about holding direct dialogue with North Korea if necessary.” On denuclearization, he noted:  “Whether it will end up being dialogue for the sake of dialogue will depend on how things are dealt with from now on. It is important to demonstrate concrete actions.”


Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi told the press that “I would like to express my gratitude to President Trump for his dedication.” He also noted that “it is not necessarily clear how denuclearization will be implemented in specific terms and it has not been revealed how Chairman Kim reacted when (President Trump) raised the issue of the abductions.” He called on the government to confirm these points through meetings between the Japanese and U.S. foreign ministers and leaders and provide explanations to the public. “The abduction issue must be resolved through a summit between Japan and North Korea, as we are the stakeholders,” he said. “The government must make the best use of this opportunity.”


The ruling parties are wary of the ambiguity of the results of the U.S.-North Korea summit. A senior LDP lawmaker predicts that “it will be difficult for Japan to engage in talks with North Korea on the abduction issue until denuclearization becomes clear.”


The opposition camp hailed the U.S.-North Korea summit and called for convening a Budget Committee session with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in attendance. On the abduction issue, Kiyomi Tsujimoto, head of the Diet affairs committee in the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), told the press that “it is good that the issue was mentioned at the meeting” and pointed out that “it remains to be seen to what extent the issue was talked about until we ask [the U.S. for the details].” Democratic Party for the People co-representative Kohei Otsuka noted that “holding direct dialogue is worth praise” but “it is premature to assess the other outcomes of the meeting at this point.”


Japanese Communist Party Kazuo Shii issued a statement saying that he “sincerely welcomes” the convening of the U.S.-North Korea summit. He called on the government to “resolve the abduction issue and other concerns comprehensively, make efforts to normalize Japan’s diplomatic ties with North Korea, and play a role in promoting the peace process.”

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