The National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea (NARKN or the ‘Japanese Rescue Movement’) is a coalition of non-profit organizations which shares the common goal of rescuing all the victims abducted by North Korea. Since its first conference in Tokyo in April 1998, the NARKN has worked as the nation-wide association. It is currently formed by 39 local NGOs and one youth organization (as of December 9th, 2006).
NARKN has been working shoulder to shoulder with the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea (AFVKN), which is composed by the family members of Japanese abductees.
In October 2002, the Government officially confirmed 15 Japanese as abduction victims, adding Hitomi Soga and her mother Miyoshi Soga to the previous list of thirteen. The Government further acknowledged Minoru Tanaka as the 16th victim in April 2005 and Kyoko Matsumoto as the 17th in November 2006.
Beside these officially recognized 17 abductees, the NARKN believes many others were kidnapped by the North Koreans, including Shoji Terakoshi, Sotoo Terakoshi, Takeshi Terakoshi, Kenzo Kozumi, Kimiko Fukutome, Kumiko Kato, and Ryoko Furukawa.
The Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea (COMJAN. NARKN’s sister organization which conducts research on ‘potential victims’ abducted by North Korea.) has compiled a list of over 400 suspicious cases. (See the Abducted Victims List for further details.)
Rescuing abducted citizens is an outstanding issue not only for Japan but also for others including, most notably, South Korea. The South Korean government has publicly announced 83,000 victims kidnapped by North Korea during the Korean War and an additional 489 victims after the war. Actual number of victims would be much higher than these figures. Families of the South Korean victims had also established an association in year 2000 and ever since are in close cooperation with the NARKN to rescue all the victims kidnapped by North Korea.
Representatives of AFVKN and NARKN have met Thai, Lebanese, and Chinese family members of abductees several times and built cooperative relationships. Some cases could be confirmed through these meetings. Delegation composed by AFVKN and NARKN leaders flew to New York and visited UN Permanent Representative offices of affected countries in October, 2006, to exchange views and secure close ties.
Proactive Japanese Parliamentarians have formed a non-partisan committee named the Parliamentarian League for Early Repatriation of Japanese Citizens Kidnapped by North Korea (currently chaired by Rep. Takeo Hiranuma). Also, 26 local assemblymen’s organizations for the rescue of abductees have been formed nationwide (as of December 9th, 2006).
The NARKN is vigorously seeking not only the rescue of all the Japanese and South Korean abductees but liberation of all the oppressed people in North Korea. We sincerely ask for your support.
*Members of the NARKN Administrative Board
Chairman, Yoshiaki Fujino (Attorney)
Acting Chairman, Tsutomu Nishioka (Professor of Korean Area Study, Tokyo
Vice Chairman, Yoichi Shimada (Professor of International Politics, Fukui Prefectural University)
Secretary General, Ryutaro Hirata (Full-time administrator)