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Suspected Abduction of Japanese Nationals

Basic data from National Police Agency Japan official site

US Congress Resolution Condemning North Korea for the Abductions and Continued Captivity of Citizens of the ROK and Japan as Acts of Terrorism and Gross Violations of Human Rights

We very much appreciate the US House of Representatives has passed the abduction resolution on July 11, 2005. The full text is as follows.


1st Session

H. CON. RES. 168


Condemning the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for the abductions and continued captivity of citizens of the Republic of Korea and Japan as acts of terrorism and gross violations of human rights. 

HCON 168 EH 


1st Session

H. CON. RES. 168


Whereas since the end of the Korean War, the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has kidnapped thousands of South Korean citizens and as many as a hundred Japanese citizens, including Rumiko Masumoto, Megumi Yokota, and Reverend Kim Dong-shik; 

Whereas the forced detention and frequent murder of those individuals abducted by North Korea have caused untold grief and suffering to their families; 

Whereas on September 17, 2002, after considerable pressure from the Government of Japan, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il admitted that agents of his government had abducted thirteen Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s and assured Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that this would never happen again; 

Whereas despite assurances to the contrary, North Korea continues to order and carry out abductions, and, as recently as August 8, 2004, North Korean agents operating along the Chinese border kidnapped Ms. Jin Kyung-sook, a former North Korean refugee and South Korean passport-holder; 

Whereas the abduction policy of North Korea has been integral to its espionage and terrorist activities, and abductees have been kidnapped to work as spies, to train North Korean agents in language, accents, and culture, and to steal identities, as in the case of Mr. Tadaaki Hara; 

Whereas the Pyongyang regime used abductee Ms. Yaeko Taguchi as the Japanese language instructor for North Korean terrorist Kim Hyon-hee, who was caught carrying a Japanese passport after planting a bomb on Korean Air Lines flight 858 that killed 115 people in 1987; 

Whereas many victims of North Korean abduction have been seized during terrorist attacks, as in the hijacking of South Korean planes in 1958 and 1969, and, decades later, Pyongyang continues to hold twelve passengers of a hijacked Korean Air flight, including passenger Mr. Chang Ji-young and flight attendant Ms. Song Kyong-hi, who has since been allowed a brief visit by her South Korean family; 

Whereas North Korean agents have hijacked numerous South Korean ships and kidnapped the seamen and fishermen aboard the vessels, such as Choi Jong-suk, Kim Soon-keun, and ten other crewmen of the Dongjin 27, a ship that was seized in 1987, and Seoul estimates that hundreds of these abductees are still alive in North Korea; 

Whereas boat hijackings and the kidnapping of fishermen have devastated South Korean fishing communities, such as Nongso village on the southern island of Geoje, a community of 210 people that lost 14 sons, husbands, and fathers when North Korea seized three ships in 1971 and 1972; 

Whereas the North Korean authorities conspired with members of the Japanese Red Army, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States Department of State, to kidnap Keiko Arimoto, a young Japanese woman studying abroad; 

Whereas the Unification Ministry of the Republic of Korea has confirmed that 486 abduction cases involving South Korean citizens remain unresolved, and that these cases include fishermen, seamen, airline passengers, teachers, students, and pastors, many of whom are still alive and being held in North Korea; 

Whereas North Korean agents have abducted children, causing unimaginable anguish to parents who live decades with the uncertainty of what has happened to their child, as in the cases of Takeshi Terakoshi, a thirteen-year-old boy kidnapped from a fishing boat with his two uncles, and Lee Min-gyo and Choi Seung-min, two seventeen-year-old friends abducted off a beach in South Korea; 

Whereas North Korean agents kidnapped thirteen-year-old Megumi Yokota, as she was walking home from school, and subsequently reported that she married and had a daughter in North Korea before committing suicide in 1993, and that Megumi's daughter remains there separated from her family in Japan; 

Whereas on April 5, 1971, North Korean agents abducted Yu Song-gun, a South Korean diplomat stationed at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in West Germany, his wife, and two young daughters, ages 7 and 1, while the family was believed to be in Berlin; 

Whereas the Pyongyang regime has abducted a number of South Korean ministers who were bravely working to rescue North Koreans escaping on the underground railroad through China, including Reverend Ahn Seung-woon and Reverend Kim Dong-shik, the latter of whose welfare is of particular importance to representatives of the State of Illinois; 

Whereas on April 21, 2005, the Seoul Central District Court convicted Chinese citizen Ryu Young-hwa of assisting North Korean agents in the abduction of Reverend Kim and, further, that a Chinese court convicted a North Korean citizen of masterminding the abduction of Reverend Ahn, and deported the agent to North Korea in July 1997 following a two-year prison term; 

Whereas some of the abductees have risked their lives in trying to escape North Korea, as in the case of South Korean fisherman Im Kuk-jae, who has twice attempted to escape since his kidnapping in 1987, and is now believed to be imprisoned in one of North Korea's notorious labor camps; 

Whereas the North Korean regime continues to deceive the international community regarding its ongoing abductions and has furnished false information concerning eight Japanese abductees, including suspicious accounts of their supposed premature deaths; 

Whereas the Government of North Korea has never convincingly accounted for Ms. Rumiko Masumoto and Mr. Shuichi Ichikawa, kidnapped by Pyongyang agents from a beach in Japan on August 12, 1978, and claims that Mr. Ichikawa drowned in the sea, despite his dislike of swimming, and that the formerly healthy Ms. Masumoto died of a heart attack at the age of 27; 

Whereas North Korea claims abductees Mr. Toru Ishioka and Ms. Keiko Arimoto, who were kidnapped separately in Europe and later married, supposedly died together with their small daughter of gas poisoning in 1988, two months after they were successful in getting a letter out of North Korea to family members in Japan; 

Whereas although the Pyongyang regime claimed to return the alleged cremated remains of Mr. Kaoru Matsuki and Ms. Megumi Yokota to Japanese officials, both remains appear not to be authentic, and, according to Pyongyang, the bodies of the six remaining Japanese abductees have conveniently been washed away during flooding and cannot be recovered to verify the causes of their untimely deaths; 

Whereas despite the efforts of the Japanese Government, the Pyongyang regime continues to deny any knowledge of the abductions of Mr. Yutaka Kume, Mr. Minoru Tanaka, and Ms. Miyoshi Soga, the mother of another acknowledged abductee, despite overwhelming evidence of North Korean collusion in their disappearances; 

Whereas North Korean abductions have not been limited to northeast Asia and many documented abductees have been kidnapped while abroad, such as Mr. Lee Chae-hwan, a young MIT graduate student traveling in Austria, and Mr. Ko Sang-moon, a South Korean teacher kidnapped in Norway, making the issue of serious concern to the international community; 

Whereas there have been credible reports that North Korea may have abducted citizens from many other countries in addition to South Korea and Japan, including persons from China, Europe, and the Middle East; 

Whereas North Korea routinely engaged in the kidnapping of South Korean citizens during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, and, according to a 1956 survey conducted by the Korean National Red Cross, 7,034 South Korean civilians were abducted during the conflict; 

Whereas Pyongyang has refused to allow the release of a single wartime abductee despite a provision allowing civilian abductees to return home in Article III of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, a document signed by representatives from the United States, North Korea, and China; 

Whereas for more than fifty years, North Korea has held South Korean prisoners-of-war captured during the Korean War, in clear violation of Article III of the Korean War Armistice Agreement signed on July 27, 1953, and the South Korean Ministry of National Defense estimates that 542 captives are still alive in North Korea, according to testimony given before the National Assembly in February 2005; 

Whereas according to the testimony of prisoners-of-war who have successfully escaped from North Korea, South Korean prisoners-of-war have been forced to perform hard labor for decades, often in mines, and are harshly treated by the Pyongyang regime; 

Whereas after being forcibly held in North Korea for fifty-one years, South Korean prisoner-of-war Han Man-taek, age 72, escaped to China, was detained by Chinese police and forcibly repatriated to North Korea earlier this year, where he inevitably faced punitive measures and possible execution; and 

Whereas these South Korean prisoners-of-war served under the United Nations Command, fighting alongside their American and Allied fellow soldiers, and therefore are the direct concern of the Allied nations who contributed forces during the Korean War: Now, therefore, be it 

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--

(1) condemns the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for the abduction and continued captivity of citizens of the Republic of Korea and Japan as acts of terrorism and gross violations of human rights;

(2) calls upon the North Korean Government to immediately cease and desist from carrying out abductions, release all victims of kidnapping and prisoners-of-war still alive in North Korea, and provide a full and verifiable accounting of all other cases;

(3) recognizes that resolution of the nuclear issue with North Korea is of critical importance, however, this should not preclude United States Government officials from raising abduction cases and other critical human rights concerns in any future negotiations with the North Korean regime;

(4) calls upon the United States Government not to remove the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from the Department of State's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism until such time that North Korea renounces state-sponsored kidnapping and provides a full accounting of all abduction cases; and

(5) admonishes the Government of the People's Republic of China for the forced repatriation to North Korea of Han Man-taek, a South Korean prisoner-of-war and comrade-in-arms of the United States, and for its failure to exercise sovereign control over teams of North Korean agents operating freely within its borders.

Passed the House of Representatives July 11, 2005. 





December 22nd, 2005

Message for Tokyo International Conference

It is my honor to send my support and best wishes for a successful Tokyo International Conference.

We in the United States, active on the North Korea human rights issues, are always inspired by the leadership of the Japanese Rescue Movement, Professor Yoichi Shimada, and Teruaki Masumoto and all the families and those who support their noble efforts to Bring Them Home.

Through international unity, let us continue to grow in strength and determination with action exposing the horrific crimes of Kim Jong-il and his regime and with determined efforts fight for the rights of the North Korean people, the return of all those abducted against their will by this horrific regime, and stand up for those North Korean refugees in China who continue to be hunted down and repatriated in violation of China's international treaty obligations.

We stand with you today, and with those representatives from South Korea, Thailand, and Lebanon, that have joined the people of Japan to be a part of this historic conference.

Suzanne Scholte

North Korea Freedom Coalition

Dec. 22, 2004 11AM

Statement of the NARKN on occasion of the International Campaign to Block the Repatriation of the North Korean Refugees 

We strongly demand that the People's Republic of China immediately end their forcible repatriation policy towards the North Korean refugees.

By forcefully sending the refugees back into the hands of the bloody dictator, Kim Jong-Il, the Chinese government is knowingly assisting the torture, execution, and forced abortion after the repatriation. 

Pity the many young PRC policemen and army troops as well, who are being forced by PRC leadership to do disgraceful jobs as cruel "watch dogs" for Kim Jong-Il; we believe that serious ethical decay must be spreading amongst those personnel.

Even in this very moment, there might be abducted Japanese victims (or their families) who attempted escape, but captured by the Chinese officials and are about to be sent back to North Korea. It is highly probable that some North Korean refugees repatriated so far might have had vital intelligence regarding the whereabouts of the abducted Japanese. 

Thus, we cannot help but to conclude that Chinese authority systematically keeps obstructing our rescue efforts.

We strongly demand that the Chinese authority allow the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) to gain access with the North Korean refugees and interview them. This is simply an obligation for the Chinese as a signatory of the UN Refugee Convention. China must comply with this obligation, period.

If China persists to undermine the 1951 Refugee Convention, as well as continuing its repatriation policy, the Chinese do not deserve a seat in the United Nations Security Council. Moreover, it has no right to hold the Olympics where Human Right is the principle spirit required for any host nation.

There are reports that Megumi Yokota who had been abducted from Japanese shore at age 13, in her desperate attempts to see her mother again, tried to escape the Stalinist nation several times. When we think of the hopelessness she must have felt when being captured and sent back, we cannot subdue our raging hearts.

There are also shocking reports that the supporters who help the North Korean refugees are being abducted as well. We assert, justifiably we believe, the Chinese government, who are already well known for its oppression, would turn a blind eye. 

To rescue all Japanese abductees from North Korea liberation of all the North Korean people is imperative, which logically means getting rid of Kim Jon-Il. We have continued our struggle together with other brave international movements with this belief. Those who support the Kim regime are the ones who are hindering our movement.

Today, together with all the colleagues and organizations who have gathered in the US, Seoul, and all around the world, we ask again that the Chinese government end their repatriation of North Koreans.

Katsumi Sato,


National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea (NARKN)

In the news

15 abductees alive in '91, spy tells Diet Pyongyang defector testifies before panel

The Japan Times

July 29, 2005

Japanese seek U.S. support on sanctions

by Bill Gertz


May 03, 2005 

Representatives of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea have appealed to the Bush administration to support sanctions on Pyongyang until the communist regime provides a full accounting of the missing Japanese. ……

Brothers of the Disappeared 

A year after North Korea admitted to kidnapping more than a dozen Japanese, many of the victims have yet to be returned--dead or alive. 

by Victorino Matus 

The Weekly Standard

Sep. 25, 2003

Gone, But Not Forgotten 

Shedding light on North Korea's kidnapping atrocities. 

by Victorino Matus 

The Weekly Standard

March 12, 2003

December 2004 Resolution by the Parliamentarian League 

On December 9th, 2004, the Parliamentarian League for Early Repatriation of Japanese Citizens Kidnapped by North Korea held its general meeting and adopted a landmark resolution. The full text of it is as follows.

Economic Sanction is the only way to solve the abduction issue!

- Resolution by Parliamentarian League -

Our resentment has reached its limit. The recent return of the human remains, which the North Koreans claimed to belong to Megumi Yokota, has proved to be someone else’s, after a scientific examination. It turned out that the remains are of two unidentified persons.

The guy who is alleged of giving these fabricated “evidence” to the Japanese authority introduced himself as Megumi's husband. Now that we know this whole incident is fraud, the question must be asked, Who in the world that person was? 

This outrageous act constitutes insult not only to the Yokotas, but to the Japanese people as a whole and the nation of Japan itself.

The utmost anxiety, which the family members of Megumi must have gone through during scientific examination, is beyond our imagination. Now, North Korea proved it doesn’t have even the slightest sympathy towards the families’ feeling and the good faith to solve the abduction issue.

We no longer recognize any necessity to treat this kind of regime as a normal state. One high-ranking Japanese official who took part in the bilateral negotiations with the DPRK said to the Yokota family "if the remains were to be proven as fraud, our response should not be a mere economic sanctions, but much more." We, the Parliamentarian League, could not agree more to this comment.

No need for hesitation, now.

The immediate freeze of food supply as well as the implementation of economic sanctions are imperative to deal with such an egregious regime. Moreover, we should consider calling off the Japan-DPRK bilateral talks.

Furthermore, we cannot help but to insist on changing or overthrowing the Kim Jong-il regime. We must also ask our allies and neighboring countries to impose economic sanctions against North Korea along with us. The international society as a whole should take decisive actions.

We call on all Japanese to embrace this anger of the Yokota's and other families as their own pain and stand up to rescue the victims kidnapped by North Korea.

Imposing economic sanction is the only way to resolve the issue. Koizumi administration must understand this and respond correctly to the will of the people by acting immediatelly.

Let the above be resolved. 

Takeo Hiranuma, Chairman

Parliamentarian League for Early Repatriation of Japanese Citizens Kidnapped by North Korea