Sat, Apr 04, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Japan to file protest after N Korea kidnap talks fail


Japan plans to lodge a protest against North Korea over its suspension of talks on the fate of citizens kidnapped by the Pyongyang regime after a raid against pro-North Korean residents.

“We cannot accept this announcement by North Korea,” Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida told reporters in Tokyo yesterday. “We will make a swift and appropriate protest.”

Japanese police searched the Tokyo home of the chairman of Chongryon, a pro-North Korea organization, and arrested two others over the suspected import of North Korean mushrooms in violation of trade sanctions, Kyodo News reported on Thursday.

North Korea yesterday sent Japan a letter condemning the raid, the official Korean Central News Agency said.

The announcement came two days after Kishida said Japan would extend some sanctions against North Korea after talks on the fate of kidnapped Japanese failed to produce results. North Korea admitted in 2002 to abducting 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s to train its spies.

North Korea remains under a separate set of sanctions imposed by the UN for its nuclear tests.

Other sanctions due to expire this month were extended for two years, Kishida said on Tuesday. They include barring North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports and maintaining limits on trade with the country.

North Korea returned five of the kidnapping victims in 2002, saying the others were dead. Japan has never accepted that explanation. Some Japanese citizens groups estimate the number of abductees in the hundreds.

North Korea in July last year agreed to conduct a new investigation in return for Japan easing some sanctions. So far the new probe has failed to produce results.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with some of the victims’ families yesterday. He told reporters after the meeting that North Korea’s actions were unacceptable and Japan would employ “dialogue and pressure” on the isolated nation.

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