During the 1970s and 1980s a considerable number of Japanese citizens disappeared in unnatural circumstances. Investigations by the Japanese authorities and the testimonies of exiled North Korean agents revealed that many of these incidents were likely to be abductions by North Korea. From 1991 onwards, the Government of Japan took every opportunity to raise the issue with North Korea, but the North Korean side persistently denied all allegations.
At the Japan-DPRK summit meeting held in Pyongyang on September 17, 2002, the North Korea side, after many years of denial, acknowledged for the first time that it had abducted Japanese citizens, offered an apology and pledged to prevent any recurrence. To date, the Government of Japan has identified
16 Japanese citizens as victims of abductions by North Korea, five of whom returned to Japan on October 15, 2002 for the first time in 24 years.
At the second Japan-DPRK summit meeting held in Pyongyang on May 22, 2004, Chairman Kim Jong-Il promised that five family members of the victims of abduction by North Korea who were repatriated in the North Korean side would return to Japan. In addition, it was agreed that the North Korean side would immediately conduct a thorough reinvestigation from scratch in order to gain a full account of the whereabouts of the abductees whose safety remains unknown.
Despite these commitments, there has still been no persuasive explanation forthcoming from North Korean authorities concerning the safety of the remaining abductees.
(Excerpt from "Abductions of Japanese Citizens by North Korea (Pamphlet)"
Links to the related websites: