To encourage the association’s initiatives, support organisations were created one after the other in every part of Japan. In 1998, they gathered into one entity to become the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea (NARKN). April 1997 saw the formation of a non-partisan parliamentary cell aimed at addressing the abduction issue and its resolution. In addition to these organisations, meetings of governors (Assembly for the relief of victims of abduction by North Korea) and MPs ( Comission for National Consultation of Regional Assemblies on the abductionissue) have recently reinforced the movement . At first, these associations experienced some difficulties in convincing the public of the need for action. However, with the implementation of gatherings, public meetings with the individuals concerned, and demonstrations across the country, the Japanese people have realised the importance of the problem and ask the government to act to repatriate victims abducted by North Korea. Under pressure from public opinion as well as from the United States, (through President George Bush, who in January 2001 included the regime of Kim Jong-il in the «axis of evil,»), in September 2002, North Korea participated in a meeting with Japan primarily to address the abduction issue. For the first time, North Korea recognised the abduction of Japanese citizens that it had previously denied. Kim Jong-il, however, hid the fact that he was the main instigator of the kidnappings. He merely stated: «There are only thirteen people who were abducted, eight of whom died. I consider this matter closed.» The Japanese public is not satisfied with these statements and the Japanese government has not implemented the Pyongyang treaty it signed with North Korea, which means that efforts to normalise diplomatic relations between the two countries has been suspended.
In October 2002, North Korea released five Japanese nationals it was holding on its territory, but insisted that these people were to return. The Japanese government refused to negociate, and two years later obtained the release of the families of the five victims back to Japan. Unfortunately, there are still Japanese nationals detained in North Korea who are still waiting to be rescued. The AFVKN and the NARKN investigated documents as well as physical evidence provided by the North Korean authorities to certify the death of the eight Japanese people they had spoken about at the last summit with Japan. All are false. North Korea finally admited this during the following Japanese-North Korean summit without giving a satisfactory explanation. Both associations believe that diplomatic negotiations with the dic- tatorial regime of Kim Jong-il are not sufficient to bring the victims back home. From July 2003, they asked the Japanese government to implement retaliatory measures against North Korea. In the space of one year, two-thirds of the public believe that it is necessary to impose sanctions against North Korea. In all opinion polls since, this rate exceeds 80%. This is the first time in post- war Japan that the population wants to take action against a foreign country. In September 2006, Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet set up the «Committee dedicated to the abduction issue.» This committee will also be present in succeeding governments stemming from the Liberal Democratic Party or Democratic Party of Japan. After the death of Kim Jon-it, many people in North Korea offered to sell confidential data including detailed information about 2.1 million people in Pyongyang. We ourselves have been able to obtain some information about the existence of abductees, and we can say that they are alive. Noting that North Korea has been forced to recognise its two lies, that «there were only 13 Japanese kidnapped» and «eight abductees died,» The AFVKN and the NARKN continue their popular move- ment to resuce the victims left in North Korea. A petition has been launched and already has more than 10 million signatures.