Japanese abductees’ kin seek talks with Pyongyang

Tokyo, Feb 22 (IANS) Relatives of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea plan to call on the government to hold substantial talks with Pyongyang for the return of the victims, the media reported on Monday.

The relatives and their supporters gathered in Tokyo on Sunday, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The leader of the relatives’ group, Shigeo Iizuka, said they regarded 2015 as a decisive year for resolving the issue, but no progress was made.

He said their goal is to get the victims back and they want the government to act to help achieve that goal.

North Korea agreed with Japan two years ago that it would conduct an investigation into the fate of missing Japanese nationals, including the abductees, but Pyongyang announced this month that it had suspended the probe.

The announcement came after Japan decided to impose unilateral sanctions on the country for its rocket launch.

The relatives said the agreement was made without substantial discussion on how to ensure the victims’ return.

They said an environment needs to be created through sanctions and international collaboration so that North Korea will sit at the negotiation table.

They decided to urge the government to persuade North Korea to return the victims by offering incentives such as resuming humanitarian aid on the condition that the North deals with the issue in a sincere manner.

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