On 6 November 2012, Ambassador Kazuo Kodama, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, made a statement in a meeting of the Third Committeewhich handles issues related to human rights at the United Nations. The meeting’s agenda included discussions on the promotion and protection of human rights and reports from special rapporteurs and representatives on the human rights situation in specific countries, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Following similar statements by the representative of the US, Australia and the EU, Ambassador Kodama vigorously describedin his statement Japan’s stance on the unresolved human rights violations made by the Government of the DPRK, including the abduction of Japanese nationals by the DPRK. After the statement, the representative from the DPRK exercised their right of reply,which allows each Member State of the UN to respond to statements by other Members,stating that the abduction issue has already been resolved. In a heated debate, Japan also exercised the right of reply and refuted this position of the DPRK by pointing out discrepancies in their statement and explaining to the Committee the current agreement between Japan and the DPRK in which both parties had agreed to concrete steps towards fully investigating the abductions. Backed by the reports of the Special Rapporteur and other experts, Japan noted that the DPRK has been responsible for not only the abduction of Japanese citizens, but also the abductions of citizens from other Member States. The United Nations and the Human Rights Council consider abductions to be a gross violation of human rights.
The DPRK and Japan spoke in turn, both exercising the right of reply to rebuttal the arguments and facts presented. In Amb. Kodama’s second invocation of the right of reply, he firmly reiterated that the DPRK had not yet responded to the issue as well as other concerns of the international community expressed in the meeting, and vocalized Japan’s expectation that the DPRK respond to the concerns in a concrete and constructive manner rather than simply arguing them in the Third Committee.(See below for the transcript of the rights of replies)
FIRST RIGHT OF REPLY
My delegation would like to exercise its right of reply in response to the statement made by the representative of the DPRK.
The representative of the DPRK stated that the abduction issue has been completely settled. However, this is contradictory to the current agreement between Japan and the DPRK, and therefore an incorrect statement.
In the bilateral consultation held in June 2008, the DPRK changed its position of the abduction issue having been resolved. And in August 2008, both sides agreed upon the overall objectives and concrete modalities of the investigation on the abduction issue.
As previously reported by the Special Rapporteur and others, the DPRK has abducted not only Japanese citizens but citizens of other nationalities. We urge the DPRK to respond to the concerns of the international community with regards to the its human rights violations including the abduction issue.
With respect to the numbers that the delegation of the DPRK mentioned on the issues of the past are totally groundless.
As for the comfort women issue, I do not intend to repeat what I explained earlier here in this Third Committee.
SECOND RIGHT OF REPLY
I refrain from entering into a detailed rebuttal of the statement made by the delegation of the DPRK.
However, let me emphasize following point. It is regrettable that the DPRK has not responded with concrete actions to the concerns repeatedly expressed by the international community including States, NGOs and the Special Rapporteur, which we heard in this forum. Instead of merely exercising the right of reply, we expect the DPRK to respond in a concrete and constructive manner to those concerns.