electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies

Discussion Paper 5 in 2007
First published in ejcjs on 28 November 2007


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Bringing Home the Japanese Abductees from North Korea

by

Takuya Ito

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Abstract

This paper discusses the official and unofficial attitude of former Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo towards the abductions of Japanese people by North Korea. Officially, Abe displayed an aggressive attitude towards the problem. However, unofficially, he possessed an ingratiating attitude. A Japanese weekly magazine reported that he had been in regular negotiations with North Korea surreptitiously. Abe's ingratiating attitude may be explained by his alleged connection with the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity—which preaches the establishment of a harmonious relationship with North Korea. Abe's dual attitude confounded the families of the abductees as they were unable to ascertain which of his attitudes was genuine.

The paper proposes that the families of abductees adopt a 'dialogue and pressure' strategy against government parties, particularly the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). At present, the families' dialogues with the LDP are akin to entreaties because they do not put pressure on the government. If the families of the abductees pressurize the LDP, their dialogues with the party would no longer be entreaties, but become substantial dialogues conducted on an equal footing.


Introduction

On 12 September 2007, Abe Shinzo suddenly announced that he would resign as the prime minister of Japan even though he had made a general policy speech at the Diet only two days previously (Yomiuri Shimbun, 12 September 2007 (Evening Edition)). On 25 September, the Abe Cabinet resigned as a body only one year after its inauguration (Yomiuri Shimbun, 25 September 2007 (Evening Edition)). In the last days of the Abe Cabinet, its approval rating was very low. According to the Asahi Shimbun's public opinion poll taken on 27 and 28 August 2007, it was 33 per cent even after Abe's much publicized cabinet reshuffle[1].

When Abe had become prime minister only a year previously, the Japanese people had placed great expectations on him. According to the Asahi Shimbun, the approval rating for the Abe Cabinet just after its inauguration was 63 per cent—a phenomenon significant enough to occupy the third highest approval rating since World War II (Asahi Shimbun, 28 September 2006). One reason for this is because the Japanese people recognized Abe's efforts to solve the North Korean abduction problem. The official reason stated by him for deliberating with this problem is that it is not only a human rights issue but also a matter related the national sovereignty of Japan and its guarantee of security. Thus, Abe, who is a conservative and hawkish politician, considered the abduction of Japanese citizens to be a serious problem that undermines the foundation of Japan as a sovereign nation. Neglecting this problem would have deemed him an incompetent politician, in his own opinion.

The aggressive attitude adopted by Abe towards the North Korean abduction problem did not appear to have changed even after he became prime minister. On 29 September 2006, in the prime minister's general-policy speech at the Diet, Abe mentioned that it was impossible for Japan to normalize diplomatic relations with North Korea without the settlement of the abduction problem (Abe, 29 September 2006). He insisted that he would require North Korea to return all abductees, on the assumption that all of them were alive, under the government policy of 'dialogue and pressure'. On the same day, the Abe Cabinet decided to establish a task force for the abduction problem with Abe as the director general (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 29 September 2006). The first meeting of the task force was held on 16 October 2006; it was decided therein to maintain the diplomatic policy of 'dialogue and pressure' towards North Korea (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 16 October 2006). Further, the Abe Cabinet highlighted the importance of seeking a solution to the problem by preparing a special homepage (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage). In an internet video placed on the government website, Abe mentioned his determination to bring the Japanese abductees back home (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 26 October 2006). In addition, the Abe Cabinet created a pamphlet, a TV spot, a radio commercial, a DVD and a leaflet in its campaign against North Korea (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 15 March 2007, 23 March 2007, 23 July 2007 and 25 August 2007, Headquarters for the Abduction issue, Government of Japan, March 2007).

However, a certain weekly magazine reported Abe possessing the exact opposite attitude towards the abduction problem—the hidden ingratiating attitude. According to these reports, before becoming prime minister, Abe was in contact with North Korea several times and attempted negotiations to abandon the settlement of the abduction problem and engage in talks for normalization of relations with the country. His ingratiating attitude may be related to his reported connection with the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (the Unification Church, sekai kirisutokyō tōitsu shinrei kyōkai, abbreviated as tōitsu kyōkai), which is a new religion founded by a Korean and is based in South Korea. In Japan, the religion is considered rather problematic on account of allegedly fraudulent sales of spiritual charms (reikan shōhō) and mass weddings (gōdō kekkonshiki). It has an affiliated organization—the International Federation for Victory over Communism (kokusai shōkyō rengō)—whose guiding principle is to overthrow communism. However, the Unification Church has changed its policy and established a favourable relationship with North Korea. Therefore, the Unification Church may be responsible for Abe's ingratiating attitude towards the abduction problem since the problem would prevent the religion from maintaining a favourable relationship with North Korea.

Abe's dual attitude confounded the families of abductees as they were unable to ascertain which of his attitudes was genuine. This paper proposes a concrete idea for a solution to the North Korean abduction problem that is not influenced by news reports. It involves a 'dialogue and pressure' strategy with regard to the LDP. In this strategy, the pressure implies a change of government. At present, the families of the abductees are in dialogue with the LDP regarding this problem; however, they do not intend to pressurize the LDP. In this respect, their dialogues are akin to entreaties. The LDP has adopted the diplomatic policy of 'dialogue and pressure' towards North Korea in order to solve the abduction problem. If this diplomatic strategy is believed to be effective against North Korea, the families of the abductees must also adopt the 'dialogue and pressure' strategy towards the LDP, since the abductions occurred during the reign of the LDP led single-party government. If the families adopt such an attitude towards the LDP, their dialogues with the LDP would no longer be entreaties, but become substantial dialogues conducted on an equal footing with the LDP[2].

Abe's Official Aggressive Attitude

According to Abe, the abduction problem was brought to the fore in the autumn of 1988 (Abe, 2006: 44-46). It began with a visit from the parents of Arimoto Keiko to Abe's father, Abe Shintaro. At the time, Abe was a secretary to his father. Arimoto Keiko was reported missing in 1983 when she was studying in London. In 1988, her parents obtained information that she was living in Pyongyang. Therefore, her parents visited Abe Shintaro to appeal to him to bring her back to Japan. In order to help the parents, another of Abe Shintaro's secretaries brought them into contact with the National Police Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, they were unable to find any clues to the problem. In 1991, Abe Shintaro died and the problem remained unresolved. Two years later, his son, Abe Shinzo, won his first election victory for the House of Representatives and continued to attempt to resolve the North Korean abduction problem, as his father had intended. In 1997, he gathered other Diet members who were interested in the problem and organized a union of Diet members (kitachōsen rachi giwaku nihonjin kyūen giin renmei).

The decisive event that tagged Abe as a tough politician who struggled with this difficult problem was the first visit of the former prime minister, Koizumi Jun-ichiro to North Korea on 17 September 2002. At the time, Abe had accompanied Koizumi as the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary. Immediately after Koizumi's arrival, a North Korean official handed over the list regarding the safety of the abductees to Tanaka Hitoshi, a Japanese official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The list mentioned the following details regarding fourteen people: four people were living, eight were deceased, one was missing before entering North Korea, and the name of another person who was not on the Japanese list. When this information was provided to Abe, he visited Koizumi with Tanaka in order to make a report. In the morning meeting Koizumi urged Kim Jong Il to provide an explanation regarding the death of eight people. The meeting ended 30 minutes earlier than planned and Abe suggested to Koizumi that a joint declaration must not be signed if Kim did not apologize and explain the deaths of the eight abductees. During the afternoon meeting, Kim acknowledged the abduction problem and apologized to Koizumi. Taking into consideration this apology, Koizumi signed the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang declaration and decided to engage in talks for normalization of relations with North Korea. After returning to Japan, Koizumi did not intend to meet the families of the abductees. However, the following day Abe visited the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea (kitachōsen niyoru rachi higaisha kazoku renrakukai, abbreviated as kazokukai) and the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea (kitachōsen ni rachisareta nihonjin wo kyūshutsusuru tameno zenkoku kyōgikai, abbreviated as sukūkai). He informed them of the progress of the negotiations with North Korea and as a result the families placed greater confidence in Abe.

A merit of Abe's official attitude was attempting to acquire justice by struggling with the issue of human rights. A politician who does not show a positive inclination towards settlement of the abduction problem would be regarded as questionable. In this respect, Abe inherited the political style of Koizumi. As I indicated elsewhere, the Koizumi-led LDP won the national elections by using human rights issues as its weapon (Ito, 2005a). A good indication of this was the withdrawal of the appeal to a higher court against the Hansen's disease case in 2001 and the sudden announcement of Koizumi's first visit to North Korea in 2002. On account of Koizumi's political style, the Koizumi Cabinet retained power for a period of five and a half years, which is an extremely long period in the history of Japanese politics.

Apart from being a human rights issue, the problem of the North Korean abductions of the Japanese is, according to Abe, one related to the national sovereignty and security of Japan (Abe, 2006: 46). Nevertheless, the LDP had neglected this problem for decades, a fact that was admitted by Abe (Abe, 2006: 45). Abe also admitted to being among the minority in the LDP and was regarded as an eccentric politician when he first began to deal with the problem in 1993 (Abe and Okazaki, 2004: 105). This indicates that the LDP can aim to achieve the reputation of being a reform party by correcting its own political mistakes; this is true of almost all the policies of the LDP. For example, the reason behind Koizumi becoming the prime minister was that he regarded the Hashimoto faction as resistance power (teikō seiryoku). This faction was opposed to his policies, in particular, to the privatization of the postal services. Similarly, the LDP had neglected the North Korean abduction problem in order to solve this matter. As indicated earlier, the ultimate purpose of the LDP is to continue being the leading government party (Ito, 2005a). This is even confirmed by Abe. When the LDP was an opposition party, it aimed to return to political power by forming a coalition government with the Socialist and Sakigake parties. For this purpose, during the election for the prime minister in the Diet, almost all LDP members including Abe, voted for Murayama Tomiichi—the leader of the Socialist Party whose policies were contrary to those of the LDP (Abe, 2006: 38, PHP Kenkyūjo, 2006: 42). Abe mentions that the LDP had no choice but to vote for Murayama in order to return to power. In brief, Abe attached importance not to policies but to the political situation[3]. If he had emphasized the importance of policies, he would not have agreed to the formation of the coalition with the Socialist Party even if, through it, the LDP obtained an opportunity to return to power. In fact, certain LDP members voted for Kaifu Toshiki, an LDP Diet member, instead of Murayama (Curtis, 1999: 190-192). Further, Abe continued to place emphasis on the political situation even after becoming the prime minister. On 4 December 2006, he approved the reinstatement of eleven Diet members who opposed the bills of privatization of the postal system and were expelled from the LDP (Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 December 2006a). In addition, on 9 March 2007, he admitted reinstatement of Eto Seiichi who was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2005 general election (Yomiuri Shimbun, 10 March 2007). He believed that if he had not permitted their reinstatement, the LDP would have been in a difficult race in the election of the House of Councillors and held in 2007[4]. This was probably a reason for his insistence on adopting a policy of achieving a society that permits the provision of second challenge (Abe, 2006: 227-228). In fact, Sasagawa Takashi, chairperson of the party ethics committee of the LDP mentioned that the LDP provided a second chance to the Diet members who were reinstated in the LDP (Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 December 2006b). In spite of their reinstatement, the LDP lost 27 seats in the election of the House of Councillors in 2007 (Yomiuri Shimbun, 30 July 2007) and the DPJ became the leading party in the chamber.

Abe's Unofficial Ingratiating Attitude

The previous section discussed the official aggressive attitude of former prime minister Abe Shinzo towards the North Korean abduction problem. This section presents a discussion on his unofficial ingratiating attitude towards the problem. According to a series of reports published in the Shūkan Gendai, Abe was in contact with North Korea surreptitiously and intended to terminate the abduction problem and proceed with talks regarding normalization of relations between the two countries (Shūkan Gendai, 12 March 2005, 20·27 August 2005, 3 September 2005, 19 November 2005, 1 July 2006, 21 October 2006, 28 October 2006, 4 November 2006, 9 December 2006 and 30 December 2006). The discussion in this section is based on the information presented in this series of reports. On 17 August 2003, Abe invited to Japan a Chinese businessman who was an old friend of Kim Jong Il—they had been friends for twenty years. Abe spoke with him for over two hours at a hotel near his villa on the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, at the foot of Mt. Fuji. At first, Abe apologized to him for the failure of the Japanese Government in keeping its promise of returning five Japanese abductees (Mr and Mrs Hasuike, Mr and Mrs Chimura and Ms Soga Hitomi) to North Korea when they had temporarily returned to Japan in 2002. The businessman proposed to proceed with the normalization talks between the two countries on condition North Korea would also send to Japan eight of their family members (the two Hasuike children, the three Chimura children and Soga's husband and two children). This proposal was approved by Abe. In addition, the businessman inquired whether the North Korean nuclear issue was an obstacle to the normalization talks. Abe replied that it was an agenda on the six-nation talks and was unrelated to the abduction problem. Further, he stated that the Japanese Government did not need to await the reaction of the US government. For example, had Prime Minister Koizumi decided to achieve the normalization of diplomatic relations with North Korea, George W. Bush, President of the United States, would have approved of this since Koizumi enjoyed the complete confidence of Bush. Thereafter, the businessman inquired whether Japan would invoked economic sanctions against North Korea, to which Abe replied that Japan would not do so even if the US government invoked them.

On 25 and 26 August 2003, Iiduka Hiromasa, Abe's policy secretary, visited Peking and met the same businessman three times. Iiduka inquired about the feasibility of a visit by Abe to North Korea in order to conduct talks with a North Korean official, who was Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law, on or around 10 September. Abe's intention was to bring with him on his return to Japan the remaining eight people on a special government plane. Immediately after this, Abe had planned to restart the normalization talks. Abe had even prepared a memorandum to be exchanged with North Korea. He was reported to have promised the businessman a loan of USD50m as a contingency fee. The plan was as follows: Firstly, Abe's diplomatic Korean counsellor would obtain the USD50m loan from the Bank of Japan under the personal reference of Abe. Then, the diplomatic counsellor would lend the businessman the money at an interest rate of four per cent. The businessman would repay the loan within three years. If he was unable to pay in full, a leader of the Japanese central bank would be collectively responsible for it. If normalization of relations were then achieved, Japan would provide economic support to North Korea. In brief, the businessman would be able to extract fifty million dollars from the economic support.

In the beginning of December 2003, Inoue Yoshiyuki, secretary to Abe, visited North Korea with a personal letter from Abe as well as a letter of attorney. In the personal letter, Abe had expressed his desire to take the initiative in the bringing to Japan of the above-mentioned eight people and achieving the normalization of diplomatic relations between North Korea and Japan. Inoue attempted to persuade North Korea to conduct genuine Japan-North Korea negotiations in a country other than Japan or North Korea, with Abe being the only Japanese negotiator present. From 17 to 20 January 2004, Abe sent Inoue to North Korea once again and this time Inoue brought back a personal letter. The letter confirmed the fulfilment of the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration that was signed in September 2002. Furthermore, it confirmed the following covert agreements. Firstly, after North Korea would send the above-mentioned eight people to Japan, both countries would begin negotiations for the normalization of diplomatic relations. Secondly, Japan would treat the abduction problem as resolved if these people would be brought to Japan. Thirdly, Japan would provide economic support and rice aid to North Korea. However, these covert agreements were declared null and void since North Korea did not trust Abe. Despite this, Abe did not abandon the covert negotiations. He requested North Korea to credit him with the initiative of obtaining a confirmation of deceased abductees from North Korea. Abe proposed that if North Korea would credit him for the success, he would promptly indulge in normalizing diplomatic relations. However, North Korea refused his proposal a second time. Thereafter, Abe unhesitatingly approved economic sanctions against North Korea.

If the information reported in the above mentioned news reports are true, it poses a serious problem, since the kazokukai and the sukūkai believe that the remaining abductees, including Yokota Megumi, are still alive (National Association for the Rescue Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea Homepage). Nevertheless Abe's covert negotiations signal that he was moving towards abandoning the abductees.

This issue was taken up for discussion in the Diet. On 11 October 2006, in the budget committee of the House of Councillors, Mori Yuko—a Diet member of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)—broached the subject of Abe's negotiations by quoting a portion of an article in the 21 October 2006 issue of the Shūkan Gendai titled 'Abe Shinzo ha rachi mondai wo kuimono ni shiteiru' (Abe Shinzo is exploiting the abduction problem). Abe retaliated by stating that he had not read the article and could not comment on it since the news reports of the Shūkan Gendai were not credible[5]. Thereafter, Abe sent two notifications regarding Kodansha, the publisher of the above-mentioned weekly magazine, dated 27 October and 10 November 2006, to the house of the company president. The second notification is disclosed on Abe's homepage (Abe, 10 November 2006). The notification hardly criticizes the content of the articles. The major portion of this notification comprises criticism against the manner in which Kodansha collects news. Therefore, it is difficult to judge whether the information contained in the articles is credible. On the other hand, if the news reports were true, it would bring to light another implication of the repeated assertion made by North Korea, that the abduction problem has already been solved. It is possible that this was a message for Abe not to forget the covert negotiations for terminating the abduction problem. North Korea could have been suggesting that it would disclose Abe's personal letters if he exerted any more pressure on North Korea. In general, politicians have to enter into a behind-the-scenes negotiation with another country on the assumption that it is disclosed in due time. By virtue of this, they can avoid suffering from a serious dilemma between their official and unofficial attitude. Otherwise they do not have to start the negotiation in the first place.

Abe Shinzo and the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity

The reason why Abe surreptitiously ingratiated himself with North Korea may be explained by his relationship with the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (the Unification Church, tōitsu kyōkai). This is a new religion that originated in South Korea. In recent years, it has become a social problem in Japan because of allegedly fraudulent sales of spiritual charms (reikan shōhō) and mass weddings (gōdō kekkonshiki) associated with the religion. The sale of spiritual charms is manifested through door-to-door sales that demand a large amount of money from consumers by luring them into buying goods, such as jars and seals, by telling them that the goods possess supernatural powers. In addition, mass weddings are conducted between two followers of the faith, and the partners are selected by the founder. Large sums of money are extracted from followers under the guise of participation fees.

Interestingly, the title of the book written by Abe (Utsukushii kuni he) is similar to the title of a book (Utsukushii kuni nihon no shimei) by Kuboki Osami, the chairperson of the Japanese Unification Church (Shūkan Gendai, 30 September 2006). As suggested by the title, both Abe and the chairperson of the Japanese Unification Church regard Japan as a beautiful country. One may regard this as black humour; however, Abe's alleged relationship with the new religion could be considered as a serious problem. This religion has a political organization—the International Federation for Victory over Communism (kokusai shōkyō rengō). As suggested by the name, the organization advocates the defeat of communism. However, after the founder of the religion, Moon Sun Myung, held talks with Kim Il Sung in 1991, the religion established a harmonious relationship with North Korea. The religion embarked on hotel management and tourism development in North Korea and established an automobile business in collaboration with the country (Shūkan Posuto, 26 January 2007).

In Japan, the major mass media agencies do not report on relations between Abe and the Unification Church; however, certain minor mass media agencies do report the existence of this relationship. For example, the weekly magazine Shūkan Gendai mentions that there is a close resemblance between the political views advocated by Abe and the ideology of the International Federation for Victory over Communism (Shūkan Gendai, 30 September 2006). Both insist on an amendment of the Constitution of Japan. In particular, they advocate the revision of Article 9 and the inclusion in the Constitution of the right to exercise collective self-defence. Moreover, both Abe and the organization express the country's need to possess a nuclear bomb. Further, the article also mentions that Abe's grandfather, Kishi Nobusuke, met Moon Sun Myung in 1973 and Kuboki Osami in 1975.

Reports from the Shimbun Akahata and the Shūkan Gendai provide additional evidence that clarifies the existence of a relationship between Abe and the Unification Church. When Abe was the Chief Secretary of the Koizumi Cabinet, he sent a congratulatory telegram to a mass wedding conducted by an organization that was affiliated with the Unification Church (Shimbun Akahata, 13 June 2006 and 20 June 2006 and 25 June 2006, Shūkan Gendai 30 September 2006). This mass wedding was jointly held with the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in Fukuoka on 13 May 2006. According to the Shimbun Akahata, Moon Sun Myung and his wife, Han Hak Ja, are presidents of the UPF (Shimbun Akahata, 13 June 2006). Further, the Shimbun Akahata mentions that the aim of the mass wedding was to collect donations. It reports that fifty-four politicians (members of the Diet and mayors) sent congratulatory telegrams to the particular mass wedding (Shimbun Akahata, 14 July 2006). Moreover, it mentions that Abe sent another congratulatory telegram to the Hiroshima conference of the UPF on 4 October 2005 (Shimbun Akahata, 14 October 2006). YouTube, a popular website for sharing free videos, has uploaded a video in which a man is reading out Abe's congratulatory telegram[6]. This fact has been officially admitted by Abe's office. It announced that his local office sent the congratulatory telegram to the mass wedding with his title, the Chief Secretary of the Cabinet, in his capacity as a private individual (Yomiuri Shimbun, 20 June 2006). However, this is a contradictory statement because of the mention of his title—the Chief Secretary of the Cabinet—that is indicative of his position as a public official and not a private individual. The National Network of Lawyers against the Spiritual Sales (zenkoku reikan shōhō taisaku bengoshi renrakukai) sent two open letters (inquiry and protest) to him regarding this problem. However, no response has been received thus far (National Network of Lawyers Against the Spiritual Sales Homepage, 19 June 2006 and 5 July 2006).

According to Watanabe Hiroshi, a lawyer who possesses a detailed knowledge of the Unification Church, the religion sends a large number of believers to offices of Diet members as secretaries (Shūkan Gendai, 30 September 2006). The Shūkan Gendai mentions the possibility that a secretary belonging to the religion in Abe's office may have sent the congratulatory telegram to the mass wedding. On the other hand, it is also plausible that Abe may actively have instructed his secretary to this effect since it is impossible for a politician to send a congratulatory telegram to a society that he is unrelated to. If a politician has a relationship with a particular society, it is usually because the relationship would be of advantage to the politician. Such an advantage could be manifested in the form of support for the politician in an election. Yamaguchi mentions that the Unification Church has compelled 3,000 believers to support election campaigns of the members of the LDP (Yamaguchi, 1993: 230-239). As mentioned earlier, the source of funding for the religion is sales of spiritual charms and mass weddings. According to one former believer, the Unification Church does not conduct collection of illegal funds in its home country, South Korea (Arita, 1992: 197-198). According to a particular value of the Unification Church, Japan is destined to supply South Korea with money (Kawakaki, 1990: 225, 252). In other words, Japan is an object of exploitation from the viewpoint of the South Korean religion. This implies that Abe receives cooperation from the Unification Church in turn for an indirect exploitation of the Japanese people. On the other hand, he persisted in his efforts in solving the abduction problem in order to save the Japanese people. However, as mentioned earlier, there is a possibility that he ingratiated himself with North Korea surreptitiously. This may indicate the typical nature of a person in power. From Abe's viewpoint, his nation may be merely an object of exploitation. However, at the same time, it appears that he pursued the abduction problem in the manner of protecting Japan from North Korea in order to keep up appearances. On 26 January 2007, in his policy speech in the Diet, Abe mentioned that Japanese school education was neglecting children's love for Japan (Abe, 26 January 2007). However, it may have been Abe himself who was neglecting his love for Japan on account of his close relationship with the Unification Church that, according to the logic outlined above, exploits the Japanese people.

Further, the major mass media agencies in Japan, particularly four major news papers (Asahi, Mainichi, Sankei and Yomiuri) are reluctant to report the relationship between Abe Shinzo and the Unification Church, e.g., whether Abe has a secretary who is connected with the Unification Church. For instance, on 20 June 2006, the Yomiuri Shimbun carried an article of merely 165 characters that reported that Abe sent the congratulatory telegram to the mass wedding of the UPF[7]. Moreover, the Yomiuri Shimbun has provided only a comment from Abe's office in this regard; it does not investigate the problem from an independent standpoint. As van Wolferen mentions, major Japanese mass media agencies do not analyse the reality of Japanese politics (van Wolferen, 1990: 93). In other words, they contribute towards the LDP remaining in power and represent the 'resistance power' of Japanese politics (Ito, 2005a). In this sense, present-day Japan resembles East Germany before the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The people of East Germany did not trust the mass media in their own country. They acquired pertinent information regarding their own country from satellite broadcasts from West Germany. Today, the Japanese people also cannot trust the major mass media agencies in Japan. Instead, they often have to rely on the minor mass media agencies, such as the Shimbun Akahata and other weekly magazines, or the Internet, such as YouTube and Wikipedia for updates on Japanese politics.

After becoming prime minister, Abe was not able to negotiate with North Korea surreptitiously. Thus, another member of the LDP might then have negotiated with the country instead of him. For example, Yamasaki Taku, an influential Diet member of the LDP, visited North Korea on 9 January 2007 despite opposition from LDP executives (Sankei Shimbun, 10 January 2007a). Superficially, he returned to Japan without achieving anything with regard to the abduction problem. However, in my opinion he achieved something important with regard to the timing of his visit. At the time, Abe was visiting Europe, including the NATO headquarters, and also participated in the East Asian summit meeting that was held in the Philippines, where he insisted on seeking a solution to the abduction problem (Sankei Shimbun, 13 January 2007 and 16 January 2007). It is probable that Yamasaki visited North Korea in order to soften the aggressive remarks made by Abe in the meetings. It is said that Abe maintains a distance from Yamasaki (Sankei Shimbun, 10 January 2007b). However, by virtue of his superficially estranged relationship with Abe, Yamasaki may have been able to appease North Korea. As proof of this, the LDP criticized him (Sankei Shimbun, 10 January 2007b). However, it did not punish him in any manner. Despite Abe's estrangement from Yamasaki, it is possible that the Unification Church may mediate between them. Another weekly magazine, the Shūkan Posuto, reports that Yamasaki is also involved with the religion. According to the report, the president of the Washington Times, an American newspaper that belongs to the Unification Church, handed Yamasaki an invitation card from Kim Jong Il[8]. Moreover, it reports that Yamasaki's lover was a believer in the Unification Church.

A Proposal for Bringing Back the Japanese Abductees

The two previous sections mentioned that not only North Korea but the LDP as well have had a certain responsibility regarding the solution to the abduction problem. The responsibility was related to doubts regarding the covert negotiations conducted by Abe with North Korea that attempted to bring an end to the problem. In addition, there are indications that the covert negotiations were conducted under the influence of the Unification Church. This would be a cause for concern for the families of the abductees because, if this is the truth, it would imply a betrayal for them. Despite attempting to ignore the news reports and believe Abe, such news would nevertheless prove disconcerting for them. I do not know whether Abe has close connections with the Unification Church and whether he has negotiated with North Korea under the influence of the religion since major Japanese mass media agencies including leading news papers (Asahi, Mainichi, Sankei and Yomiuri), do not report such relations. Thus, irrespective of the angle adopted, deepening the discussion would prove unproductive.

In addition, the families of the abductees are most concerned with regard to the bringing to Japan of their families rather than with the truth of the alleged covert negotiations. In this section, I put forward a proposal to the families for resolving the abduction problem. The proposal involves adopting a 'dialogue and pressure' strategy towards the LDP, since this particular political party insists that the diplomatic policy of 'dialogue and pressure' with regard to North Korea contributes towards resolving the abduction problem. For example, as the Secretary-General of the LDP, Abe insisted that the above-mentioned diplomatic policy was appropriate for resolving the North Korean abduction problem (Liberal Democratic Party of Japan Homepage, 23 February 2004). Under the diplomatic policy, on 9 February 2004, the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law was revised (Yomiuri Shimbun, 10 February 2004). The law aims to prohibit remittances to North Korea. On 14 June 2004, a law regarding special measures to ban specific vessels from making port calls was enacted (Yomiuri Shimbun, 15 June 2004). This law aims to prohibit North Korean ships from entering Japan. On 5 July 2006, the Koizumi Cabinet decided to prohibit the Man Gyong Bong, a North Korean ferry boat, from entering Japan for a period of half a year because of missile launches by North Korea into the Japan Sea (Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 July 2006 (Evening Edition)). Abe mentioned that the launching of North Korean missiles triggered the sanction. However, the Japanese Government also took into consideration the dishonesty displayed by North Korea in dealing with the abduction problem (Yomiuri Shimbun, 7 July 2006). On 11 October 2006, the Abe Cabinet decided to enact additional sanctions against North Korea for a period of half a year because the latter country announced that it had conducted an underground nuclear test (Yomiuri Shimbun, 12 October 2006a and 13 October 2006 (Evening Edition)). The sanctions mainly comprised (1) complete prohibition of entry for every North Korean ship, (2) complete prohibition of North Korean imports and (3) prohibition, in principle, on the entry of any person of North Korean nationality into Japan. The additional sanctions were decided upon by the Abe Cabinet after taking into consideration the non-progress of the abduction problem (Yomiuri Shimbun, 12 October 2006b). Even though the Fukuda Cabinet was inaugurated in September 2007, the diplomatic policy of 'dialogue and pressure' has not changed (Yomiuri Shimbun, 3 October 2007). On 9 October 2007, the Fukuda Cabinet decided to extend the sanctions against North Korea for a period of half a year (Yomiuri Shimbun, 9 October 2007 (Evening Edition)).

As mentioned above, the Japanese government has pressurized North Korea in order to urge the country to conduct dialogues with Japan. In the same manner, the families must apply political pressure on the LDP, as the ruling government party, rather than on North Korea. To be specific, the pressure involves asking for a change of government. It must be noted that asking for a change of government is merely a means to urge the LDP to conduct substantial dialogues. At present, the families of the abductees do not support any other political parties except the LDP (and its coalition partner, the New Komeito). On the contrary, they are establishing a cooperative relationship with the LDP. In this context, their attitude towards the LDP is one of entreaty. In this sense, the attitude of the families is similar to that of the North Korean people towards Kim Jong Il. For example, on 12 September 2000, Masumoto Teruaki, whose sister Masumoto Teruko was one of abductees, got down on his hands and knees (dogeza) for Mori Yoshiro, the erstwhile prime minister, and appealed to him to bring the abductees to Japan[9]. The cooperative nature of the relationship of the families of the abductees with the LDP strengthened after Abe Shinzo became the prime minister. On 1 November 2006, Mr and Mrs Yokota, parents of Yokota Megumi, attended a preview of the documentary film Megumi held in the headquarters of the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party of Japan Homepage, 1 November 2006). Further, on 14 December 2006, they attended a gathering (rachi mondai wo kangaeru kokumin no tsudoi) that was sponsored by the Japanese Government and appealed to them to resolve the North Korean abduction problem (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 14 December 2006, Sankei Shimbun, 15 December 2006 (Osaka Edition), Kazokukai and Sukūkai, 2007). In my opinion, their attitude of entreaty towards the LDP has prolonged the settlement of the abduction problem since the LDP may choose to either resolve or suspend the problem. The resolution to the problem depends entirely on the LDP. As van Wolferen mentions, the Japanese do not intend to select other parties; they have a tendency to adhere to the LDP instead (van Wolferen, 1990: 409). The reason why the Japanese appeal to the LDP to settle the abduction problem is that their sense of independence is weak (Ito, 2005b and 2007). On account of the attitude of the Japanese towards those in power, the LDP can maintain its power. The LDP also wants to win the support of the families of the abductees in order to maintain their political power. This tendency of the LDP is also indicated by van Wolferen (van Wolferen, 1990: 72-81). In psychology, this is termed 'co-dependence', in that it implies controlling a person who is in trouble by taking care of that person (Nobuta, 2000: 12-16, Saito, 1998: 57-65). For instance, assuming that there is a wife whose partner is an alcoholic. Even if she takes care of him, he does not cease drinking alcohol but gets worse. It is her care that makes him take a turn for the worse. This is called 'enabling' and a person such as the wife is termed an 'enabler'. As for the abduction problem, the LDP is an enabler since the families do not intend to have a sense of independence when the LDP is taking care of them. However, the families are also enablers since they enable the LDP to maintain its political power by supporting the party.

However, this situation can be changed by exerting political pressure on the LDP, i.e. asking for a change of government. Although the North Koreans cannot change their government, except by means of a revolution, it is possible for the Japanese to change their government since Japan is supposed to be a democratic country. By virtue of the pressure exerted by the families, their dialogues with the LDP would no longer be mere entreaties but would be transformed into substantial dialogues, e.g. to receive reports on the progress of the abduction problem and acquire concrete ideas for resolving the problem. The families may complain that the substantial dialogue is something unimaginable. However, they have already displayed a good example of this. On 17 September 2002, the day of Koizumi's first visit to North Korea, Fukuda Yasuo, then Chief Secretary of the Koizumi Cabinet and Uetake Shigeo, then Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs informed the families of the deaths of their relatives. On the following day, the families asked Abe whether the Japanese government had actually checked the authenticity of the information of the deaths of the Japanese abductees. Surprisingly, Abe answered that the Japanese government had not verified the deaths (Yomiuri Shimbun, 18 September 2002 (Evening Edition)). In addition, the Japanese government did not confirm the identity of the survivors either, e.g. Hasuike Kaoru (Hasuike, 2006: 174-180). In brief, the Japanese government merely provided the Japanese families with the assertions of the North Korean government. If the families had not questioned Abe regarding the authenticity of this information, they would have believed the information and considered their families as dead. Hasuike Toru, Hasuike Kaoru's brother and the secretary-general of the kazokukai, suspect that the affirmative notification of the Japanese government regarding the deaths of their families was a plot to terminate the abduction problem and enter into negotiations to normalize diplomatic relations with North Korea (Araki, 2002: 481). Under such circumstances, the families could hardly trust the Japanese government, particularly the LDP. Thus, the families must not provide the LDP with important information that is only known to the former abductees. Instead, they must inform the Opposition party in order to pressurize the LDP, since the information can function as a resource for the maintenance (acquisition) of power[10]. By adopting the 'dialogue and pressure' strategy, the families can deprive the LDP of the initiative in settling the abduction problem. They must not depend on anyone, including the LDP, but on their own power. The families must take the initiative on the abduction problem—that is the central theme of my proposal.

The reason for this proposal for the families is that the LDP is also to blame for the North Korean abduction problem. The Japanese people are convinced that North Korea is greatly to be blamed for the abduction problem[11]. By virtue of this, the LDP can avoid criticism from the Japanese people. In that respect, the tactics of the LDP have been successful thus far. However, as mentioned in the earlier section, the LDP is also responsible for the abduction problem since it had neglected this problem for decades and, according to the logic below, permitted North Korea to abduct the Japanese families. As of October 2007, the Japanese government officially recognizes seventeen abductees who were abducted from 1977 to 1983, which was the period of the LDP's single-party government[12]. During this period, the LDP was responsible for the security of Japan as a government party. Nevertheless, as mentioned by An Myong Jin—a former North Korean agent—it was easy for North Korean agents to enter Japan illegally since the Maritime Safety Agency of Japan did not shoot at their spy vessels even when it discovered them (An, 2000: 193-194, Ishidaka, 1998: 176-177).

The LDP acknowledged the abduction cases in 1988[13]. On 26 March 1988, Hashimoto Atsushi, a Diet member of the Japanese Communist Party, took up five abduction cases (eight people, i.e. Chimura Yasushi, Hamamoto Fukie, Hasuike Kaoru, Okudo Yukiko, Ichikawa Shuichi, Masumoto Rumiko, Ri Unhye (Taguchi Yaeko) and Hara Tadaaki) in the budget committee of the House of Councillors. Three Diet members of the LDP who were in charge of the cases—Kajiyama Seiroku, the National Public Safety Commission Chairperson, Uno Sosuke, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Hayashida Yukio, the Minister of Justice—mentioned that they suspected North Korea of the abductions[14]. Nevertheless, the LDP was unable to bring back any abductees from North Korea until Koizumi visited the country in 2002. Furthermore, as mentioned above, there is a suspicion that Koizumi and Abe attempted to terminate the abduction problem. Thus, this is not only a diplomatic problem but also a domestic one. Hasuike Toru mentions that the families must fight against both 'the rogue nation', i.e. North Korea and 'the incompetent nation', i.e. Japan (Hasuike, 2006: 138). The LDP can be held responsible for the title of 'the incompetent nation' since it is the Government party of Japan that was unable to prevent North Korea from abducting Japanese people. The LDP has two alternatives in terms of responsibility. The first responsibility is the settlement of the abduction problem. The LDP must bring back all the Japanese abductees from North Korea. As a matter of course, the abductees must be alive. This is not an achievement for the LDP, but its obligation. If the LDP is unable to implement the first responsibility, it must assume the second responsibility—change of government. In this sense, this responsibility implies punishment.

The LDP may expect that the Japanese people believe that Japanese politics does not change even if the government changes. For instance, Tsunoda Giichi—a member of the DPJ—resigned as the vice-chairperson of the House of Councillors on account of assuming the responsibility for suspicion of an illegal contribution in the election of the House of Councillors in 2001 (Yomiuri Shimbun, 27 January 2007). Ii is not certain whether such a scandal regarding the Opposition party was revealed by the LDP; however, its effect is obvious. Such a scandal would convince the Japanese people that a change of government is meaningless. As a result, the LDP would be able to continue assuming power. In fact, I also believe that Japanese politics will not change drastically despite a change of government, since the bureaucrats remain the same. However, the families must support the Opposition in elections in order to force the LDP to implement the above mentioned responsibilities, i.e. settlement of the abduction problem (obligation) or change of government (punishment). Further, the LDP may also refute that certain members of the Diet in the Opposition also have a close relationship with the Unification Church. However, it is not necessary for the families to be politically fastidious. Firstly, they must decipher the true motive of the LDP's refutation, which is to prevent a change of government. It is sufficient that the families make such members of the Opposition in the Diet sever their relationships with the Unification Church. Among the Opposition, it is probable that the DPJ will come into power since it is the largest Opposition party. However, It depends on the families as to whether they support the DPJ or other Opposition parties.

If there is no desirable party for the families at the present time, it is better that they establish a new party by gathering members of the Diet who are concerned with the North Korean abduction problem from both the LDP (and its coalition partner, the New Komeito) and the Opposition. The families may be able to gather members of the union of Diet members regarding the North Korean abduction problem (kitachōsen ni rachisareta nihonjin wo sōkini kyūshutsu surutameni kōdō suru giin renmei, abbreviated as rachigiren, the chairperson is Hiranuma Takeo) since this is a non-partisan union. In other words, this idea proposes a political realignment. Otherwise, it is better that they run for the Diet themselves. In such a case, the candidates do not require any cooperation, or an authorized candidate, from the LDP (and its coalition partner, the New Komeito) even after winning an election. The families must confront the LDP in order to pressurize the party. However, the families may learn a bitter lesson from the failure of Masumoto Teruaki. In 2004, he stood as an independent candidate for the election to the House of Councillors (Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 June 2004). The LDP did not endorse him as an authorized candidate since it feared public criticism that would accuse the party of exploiting the abduction problem, which would negatively affect the election campaign of the LDP. However, it is possible that after the election, the party may have intended to endorse him additionally and affiliate him with the party. In this election, he obtained approximately 382,000 votes; however, he was defeated (Yomiuri Shimbun, 13 July 2004). One of the reasons for his defeat was that the families of the abductees did not systematically support his election campaign. They supported him in the capacity of a 'personal position' (Yomiuri Shimbun, 19 June 2004). On the other hand, Nakagawa Masaharu, an authorized candidate of the LDP who ran in the same electoral district of Masumoto (Tokyo) obtained over a million votes and was elected first on the list. Due to the defeat of Masumoto and the victory of Nakagawa, the LDP succeeded in displaying its strong political power to the families of the abductees. This reaffirmed that the families had no choice but to depend on the LDP in order to solve the abduction problem. However, Masumoto must run for a national election once again as an independent candidate who fights against the LDP. In such a case, the families must support him as a power base that exerts pressure on the LDP in order to render it powerless.

The families may misunderstand that pressure implies criticism against the LDP. However, this is not so since even if the LDP receives criticism from the families, it can maintain the initiative on the abduction problem as long as it remains in power. The LDP merely endures listening to their criticism modestly. As a result, the families are dissatisfied with the party; however, there is no choice but to depend on the LDP. In fact, the families furiously criticized Koizumi's second visit to North Korea in 2004 since they considered that he achieved little progress on the abduction problem (Yomiuri Shimbun, 23 May 2004). However, it was the families themselves who were criticized by public opinion since the Japanese people believed that Koizumi forced North Korea to admit to the abduction problem (Shūkan Posuto, 11 June 2004). Therefore, instead of merely criticizing the LDP, the proposal of a change of government is the most effective pressure on the LDP. If the LDP assumes the Opposition, not only the families but also numerous Japanese people would withdraw support for the party. Consequently, the LDP would lose seats in every election and be in danger of dissolution. As mentioned above, the LDP has previously experienced such a sense of crisis during the rule of the Hosokawa Cabinet (Hoshi, 2005: 93). Thus, my proposal for a change of government would assume significance by exerting pressure on the LDP. Such pressure can draw the LDP into a sense of crisis. When the families are successful in applying such a political pressure, they may completely abandon dialogue with the LDP. However, the pressure becomes effective only when they conduct dialogues with the LDP—dialogue and pressure are therefore interrelated.

It must be mentioned that my proposal involves a great risk. Thus far, the families have accomplished much in cooperation with the LDP by making North Korea admit the abduction problem and by bringing to Japan some abductees and their children. However, if they adopt a confrontational stance against the LDP, it is feared that the resolution of the abduction problem would slow down because of strained relations with the LDP. In the worst case scenario, the LDP may scare the families into submission. For instance, the party may threaten to disclose that they engaged in abduction cases in Japan[15]. However, the families must not succumb to such a threat. If the LDP expresses its regret over their pressure, it would be obvious that the LDP is struggling with the abduction problem not for the sake of the families but for furthering its election campaigns. As a result, the hypocrisy of the LDP would be exposed. However, whether or not the families adopt my proposal is their decision. If they do decide to adopt my proposal, they must be prepared for the above-mentioned risk. On the contrary, if they wish to trust the LDP to solve the abduction problem, it is better that they do not adopt my proposal.

Conclusion

This paper has discussed both the official aggressive and unofficial ingratiating attitude of former prime minister of Japan Abe Shinzo towards the North Korean abduction problem. According to his official aggressive attitude, Abe regarded the abduction problem not only as a human rights issue but also as an issue regarding Japanese national sovereignty. Thus, he had to attempt to solve the problem for the sake of guaranteeing the security of Japan. On the contrary, according to his unofficial attitude, he had to ingratiate himself with North Korea because of his relationship with the Unification Church that establishes a favourable relationship with North Korea. The suspicion of his relationship with the religion increased on account of his congratulatory telegram to mass weddings held by an organization that belonged to the religion. Major Japanese mass media agencies do not intend to report the relationship between Abe and the Unification Church. Their 'nonfeasance' contributes towards the political ignorance of the Japanese people. As a result, reformation of Japanese politics does not progress. In that respect, the media function as the 'resistance power' in Japanese politics.

In this manner, this paper mainly concentrated on Abe. As mentioned in the introduction, he resigned as the prime minister in September 2007. However, he is still a diet member of the LDP. This party continues to cling to power even after the general resignation of the Abe Cabinet. The present prime minister is Fukuda Yasuo who also belongs to the LDP. The families of the abductees have to remember that the abductions occurred during the reign of the LDP led single-party government. In addition, the party has other diet members who may have relationships with the Unification Church. Therefore, this proposal to the families of the abductees remains effective in spite of the general resignation of the Abe Cabinet, since this paper has considered the abduction problem as a domestic issue for Japan. The proposal involves the adoption of a strategy of 'dialogue and pressure' towards the LDP. To be specific, the strategy implies exerting pressure for a change of government. Presently, the families are merely indulging in dialogues with the LDP and there is little pressure from the families on the LDP. In this sense, their dialogues with the LDP are akin to entreaties. However, the families can take the initiative in solving the abduction problem by exerting this pressure. As a result, their dialogues with the LDP would no longer be entreaties and become substantial dialogues, e.g. receipt of reports on the progress made with regard to the problem and inquiries with regard to concrete ideas for a solution. The families are reluctant to adopt this strategy since they regard it as a betrayal of the LDP, although the 'dialogue and pressure' strategy is merely a negotiation technique that the LDP also adopts towards North Korea. The relationship of the families with the LDP would become worse temporarily on account of exerting pressure. However, in the long run, the strategy would improve their relationship with the LDP, if the diplomatic policy of the LDP of 'dialogue and pressure' with North Korea is theoretically correct.


Notes

[1] See Asahi Shimbun (29 August 2007). According to Asahi Shimbun's public opinion poll taken before the cabinet reshuffle (30 and 31 July 2007), the approval rating for the Abe Cabinet was 26 per cent.

[2] As of October 2007, the LDP is no longer a single-government party because it has formed a coalition government with the New Komeito party; however, I concentrate only on the LDP since the abduction cases occurred when the LDP's single-party government was in power.

[3] However, he mentions that when the LDP was an Opposition party, he has acknowledged that the new LDP was no longer a party that aimed to be in power (Abe, 2006: 39-40). In reality, the LDP and the Socialist Party formed a single party. van Wolferen terms it 'system' (van Wolferen, 1990: 72-74). The professed intention (tatemae) of Japanese politics corresponded with its actual intention (honne) due to the coalition government formed by the two parties.

[4] This problem caused a sudden slide in the approval rating for the Abe Cabinet from 63 per cent (28 September 2006) to 47 per cent (Asahi Shimbun, 12 December 2006).

[5] This argument has been eliminated from the proceedings of the Diet on request from Takano Hiroshi, a Diet member of the new Komeito, the coalition partner of the LDP (The Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, 11 October 2006).

[6] See YouTube (12 June 2006). The man introduces Abe as the grandson of Kishi Nobusuke. As of October 2007, this video has been deleted from YouTube on account of a copyright problem. However, the video has been introduced in Wikipedia, a web-based free content encyclopaedia (Wikipedia Japanese edition b). Apart from Abe Shinzo, Wikipedia mentions the relationship between the Unification Church (the International Federation for Victory over Communism) and Abe's grandfather, Kishi Nobusuke, and his father, Abe Shintaro (Wikipedia Japanese edition a and c).

[7] See Yomiuri Shimbun (20 June 2006). The Asahi Shimbun has carried two articles (592 characters and 338 characters) with regard to this problem (Asahi Shimbun, 20 June 2006 and 14 July 2006); the Mainichi Shimbun carried a 390-character article (Mainichi Shimbun, 20 June 2006); and the Sankei Shimbun carried a 333-character article (Sankei Shimbun, 20 June 2006 (Osaka Edition)).

[8] See Shūkan Posuto (26 January 2007). The Sankei Shimbun and the Yomiuri Shimbun also reported this (Sankei Shimbun, 29 July 2006, Yomiuri Shimbun, 1 August 2006). However, they did not mention that the Washington Times belonged to the Unification Church. The Asahi Shimbun covered this news; however, it did not disclose the name of the Washington Times (Asahi Shimbun, 29 July 2006). The Mainichi Shimbun did not report this at all.

[9] See Kitachōsen niyoru rachi higaisha kazoku renrakukai (2003: 96-97, 410). His dogeza can be viewed in a documentary film titled 'Megumi' (its original title is 'Abduction The Megumi Yokota Story') directed by Patty Kim and Chris Sheridan.

[10] Hasuike Toru mentions that the families have disclosed this information to the Japanese Government (Hasuike, 2006: 202-204). This is because they rely on Abe Shinzo and Nakayama Kyoko, a special advisor to the prime minister (Hasuike, 2005: 108). In the 2007 election of the House of Councillors, Nakayama was elected from the proportional-representation constituency under the LDP banner. According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, the kazokukai urged her to run for the election (Yomiuri Shimbun, 17 July 2007 (Osaka Edition)).

[11] Japanese criticism regarding North Korea and South Korean boom in Japan are two sides of the same coin since they are countries of the same origin. This phenomenon is termed 'splitting' in psychology; it implies devaluation and extremes of idealization (Mason and Kreger, 1998: 30).

[12] See Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet (July 2007). Apart from the seventeen abductees, the sukūkai recognizes seven abductees who were abducted from 1963 to around 1980 (National Association for the Rescue Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea Homepage). The Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably related to North Korea (tokutei shissōsha mondai chōsakai) announces a list of other missing Japanese people in its homepage (Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably related to North Korea Homepage).

[13] According to a booklet organized by Sato Katsumi, who is the chairperson of the sukūkai, the Japanese Government would have been aware of the cases of abduction in 1977 (Sato, 2004: 106-109). As a matter of course, the LDP would also be aware of these because it was the ruling Government party at the time.

[14] See the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors (26 March 1988). Almost all Japanese mass media agencies do not report such Diet deliberations, except for the Sankei and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Sato, 2004: 133). For instance, the Yomiuri Shimbun has reported Hashimoto's questions regarding a revision of the tax system and a train accident involving a Japanese school excursion in China (Yomiuri Shimbun, 26 March 1988a (Evening Edition) and 26 March 1988b (Evening Edition)); however, it has ignored his question regarding the abduction cases.

[15] The Shūkan Gendai reports that Hasuike Kaoru, one of the former Japanese abductees, came to Japan covertly and attempted to abduct a Japanese man (Shūkan Gendai, 6·13 January 2007). Apart from this suspicion, the Shūkan Gendai reports that Sato Katsumi, the chairperson of the sukūkai embezzled a donation of ten million yen (Shūkan Gendai, 24 March 2007).


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Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 26 October 2006, 'Dai 3 kai rachi higaisha dakkan ni mukete' (text version), Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 14 December 2006, 'Seifu shusai kōenkai 'rachi mondai wo kangaeru kokumin no tsudoi' jisshi kekka gaiyō', Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 15 March 2007, 'Rachi mondai—hikisakareta kazoku—' (text version), Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 28 March 2007, 'Rachi~yurusarezaru kōi~ (honpen)', Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, July 2007, 'Seifu nintei 17mei ni kakaru jian', Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 23 July 2007, 'Rachi mondai rajio cm no sakusei·hōsō', Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet Homepage, 25 August 2007, 'Rachi mondai keihatsu rīfuretto', Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Saito Satoru, 1998, Adaruto chirudoren to kazoku, Tokyo: Gakuyo shobo.

Sankei Shimbun, 20 June 2006 (Osaka Edition), 'Tōitsu kyōkaikei shūkai ni Abe chōkanmei no shukuden': 30.

Sankei Shimbun, 29 July 2006, 'Kita, Yamasakishi ni 'shōtaijō' nicchō kankei kaizen nerau?': 3.

Sankei Shimbun, 15 December 2006 (Osaka Edition), 'Yokota san 'nihonjū ga danketsu wo' rachi mondai de seifu hatsushusai shūkai': 30.

Sankei Shimbun, 10 January 2007a, 'Jimin·Yamasakishi, Pyongyang iri': 3.

Sankei Shimbun, 10 January 2007b, 'Tandoku purē hihan aitsugu 'kita ni tsukeiru suki'': 3.

Sankei Shimbun, 13 January 2007, 'Abe shushō, NATO de hatsu enzetsu kankei kyōka wo uttahe': 1.

Sankei Shimbun, 16 January 2007, 'Higashi ajia samitto gichō seimei ni 'rachi' taikita kenen, irei no meiki': 1.

Sato Katsumi ed., 2004, Kitachōsen niyoru rachi wo kangaeru, Tokyo: Meiseisha.

Shimbun Akahata, 13 June 2006, 'Tōitsu kyōkai no shūdan kekkon·taikai Abe chōkanra ga shukuden kankoku 'sekai nippō' hōdō': 14.

Shimbun Akahata, 20 June 2006, 'Tōitsu kyōkai heno shukuden Abe kanbōchōkanYasuoka motohōsō ni kōgi higaisha kazokura 'ihō kōi wo jochō'': 14.

Shimbun Akahata, 25 June 2006, 'Tōitsu kyōkai·shūdan kekkon ni shukuden Kosaka monkashōNakagawa seichōkaichō mo Abe kanbōchōkan, Hiroshima taikai nimo sōfu': 15.

Shimbun Akahata, 14 July 2006, 'Abeshira kokkai giin·chiji tōitsu kyōkai heno shukuden 54nin kōgi shūkai de hōkoku': 14.

Shimbun Akahata, 14 October 2006, 'Abe shushō Yasuoka motohōsō, sakunen 10gatsu nimo tōitsu kyōkai shūkai ni shukuden zenkoku benren kōgishūkai de akirakani': 14.

Shūkan Gendai, 12 March 2005, 'Abe Shinzo [jimintō kanjichōdairi] 'kita [kitachōsen] heno 'yūkō' shinsho''.

Shūkan Gendai, 20·27 August 2005, 'Abe Shinzo [purinsu] 'kitachōsen tono [ura] gaikōfairu' [ketteiteki shashin mo kōkai]'.

Shūkan Gendai, 3 September 2005, 'Abe Shinzo 'kita heno nimaijita gaikō' to 'posuto Koizumi 'datsuraku'''.

Shūkan Gendai, 19 November 2005, 'kitachōsen ga sakuseishita 'Abe Shinzo maruhi fairu''.

Shūkan Gendai, 1 July 2006, 'Abe Shinzo 'dengeki hōchō keikaku' suppanuku!'.

Shūkan Gendai, 30 September 2006, 'Kenshō Abe Shinzo to tōitsu kyōkai'.

Shūkan Gendai, 21 October 2006, 'Abe Shinzo wa rachi mondai wo kuimononi shiteiru'.

Shūkan Gendai, 28 October 2006, 'Abe Shinzo ga mitsuyakushita 'kitachōsen robiisuto ni 5000man doru''.

Shūkan Gendai, 4 November 2006, 'Abe Shinzo gaikōkomon 'Park Jedu' no shōtai'.

Shūkan Gendai, 9 December 2006, 'Abe Shinzo [shushō] ga rachihigaisha wo kirisuteta Pyongyang no yoru'.

Shūkan Gendai, 30 December 2006, 'Kim Jong Il mo yonderu honshi no Abe 'bichōgaikō' tsuikyūkiji'.

Shūkan Gendai, 6·13 January 2007, 'Hasuike Kaorusan wa watashi wo rachi shiyōto nihon ni jōriku shiteita'.

Shūkan Gendai, 24 March 2007, 'Abe shushō to 'sukūkai [Sato Katsumi kaichō]' no rachirenkinjutsu wo kokuhatsusuru'.

Shūkan Posuto, 11 June 2004, 'Rachi kazokukai basshingu ha shikumareta'.

Shūkan Posuto, 26 January 2007, 'Yamataku ni 'Kim Jong Il no shōtaijō' wo todoketa 'nazo no otoko' no shōtai'.

van Wolferen, Karel, 1990, The Enigma of Japanese Power, New York: Vintage Books.

Wikipedia Japanese edition a, 'Abe Shintaro', Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Wikipedia Japanese edition b, 'Abe Shinzo', Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Wikipedia Japanese edition c, 'Kishi Nobusuke', Accessed: 31 October 2007.

Yamaguchi Hiroshi, 1993, Kenshō·tōitsu kyōkai, Tokyo: Ryokufu shobo.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 26 March 1988a (Evening Edition), 'Zeisei kaikaku soan ha 54nen no kokkai ketsugi ni sou/Miyazawa zōshō tōben': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 26 March 1988b (Evening Edition), 'Shūgaku ryokō ressha jiko 'hoshō mondai ni seifu mo kyōryoku'/Obuchi kanbōchōkan': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 18 September 2002 (Evening Edition), 'Rachi kazoku, ichiyaake ikari mo arata 'ikiteita shōko shimese' Abe kanbō fukuchōkan ni menkai': 19.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 10 February 2004, 'Kaiseigaitamehō ga seiritsu Kitachōsen he tandoku keizaiseisai kanō ni': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 23 May 2004, 'Nicchō shunō kaidan kazokukai 'saiaku no kekka' Koizumi shushō ni ikari funshutsu': 38.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 June 2004, 'San-insen Tokyo senkyoku 9nin hyōmei, konsenmoyō Aoshima motochiji, Masumotoshi mo sansen…': 26.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 15 June 2004, 'Nyūkō kinshihō ga seiritsu kitachōsenseki senpakunado taishō': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 19 June 2004, '[2004 san-insen·shūhyō no genba] (4) mutōhasō dōkō? tesaguri (rensai)': 34.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 13 July 2004, '2004 san-insen Tokyo senkyoku kaihyō kekka': 33.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 20 June 2006, 'Tōitsu kyōkaikei dantai shūkai ni Abe kanbōchōkan ga shukuden': 4.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 July 2006 (Evening Edition), 'Kitachōsen ga misairu 6ppatsu hassha sōchō no nihonkai ni chakudan keizai seisai hatsudō he = gōgai mo hakkō': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 7 July 2006, 'Taikita seisai kettei ni rachi mondai mo kōryo/Abe kanbōchōkan': 4.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 1 August 2006, 'Kita ga jimin·Yamasakishi ni hōchō wo dashin': 4.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 12 October 2006a, 'Kitachōsen no kakujikken seifu ga tsuika seisai kettei nyūkō·yunyū wo zenmenkinshi nyūkokukinshisha kakudai': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 12 October 2006b, 'Seifu no taikitachōsen tsuikaseisaisochi zenbun': 4.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 13 October 2006 (Evening Edition), 'Kitachōsen kakujikken seifu, dokujiseisai wo kakugikettei': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 December 2006a, 'Zōhan 11nin, jimin fukutō tōkii kettei': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 5 December 2006b, ''Zōhan' 11nin fukutō seishiki kettei jimin shikkōbu, hihan kaihi ni yakki rakusengumi taiō ga kadai': 4.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 27 January 2007, 'Tsunoda san-in fukugichō ga jinin kenkin mondai de inseki, minshu ni dageki giwaku ha hitei': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 10 March 2007, 'Eto-shi fukutō, 10 tai 7 de ryōshō jimin tōkii, irei no tasūketsu': 2.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 17 July 2007 (Osaka Edition), 'Shūkan bunshun 'rachi no seiji riyō' kiji, kazokukai ga kōgi': 33.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 30 July 2007, '2007 san-insen yotō zanpai, minshu dai1tō Abe seiken ni dageki kahansū ōkiku waru': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 12 September 2007 (Evening Edition), 'Abe shushō ga taijin kokumin shiji ushinai 'kejime' getsunai nimo jimin sōsaisen = gōgai ari': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 25 September 2007 (Evening Edition), 'Abe naikaku, maru1nen de sōjishoku': 1.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 3 October 2007, '[Shuyō kakuryō ni kiku] Machimura kanbōchōkan jūyōseisaku, yatō to hanashiau': 4.

Yomiuri Shimbun, 9 October 2007 (Evening Edition), 'Kitachōsen heno seisai wo hantoshi enchō kakugi kettei': 1.

YouTube, 12 June 2006, 'LOVE LETTER from Abe Shinzou', Accessed: 31 October 2007.

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Copyright: Takuya Ito
This page was first created on 28 November
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