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Homecoming of abductees' kin a must before talks resume.

TOKYO, Aug. 3 Kyodo

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Sunday the families of five Japanese abducted to North Korea who were later repatriated must come to Japan before talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang to normalize bilateral ties could resume.

''The family members (left behind in North Korea) of the five must be brought to Japan before the resumption of negotiations between Japan and North Korea on normalizing bilateral ties,'' Abe said in a speech in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, referring to their homecoming as a prerequisite for the resumption of the talks.

Japan has urged North Korea to allow the five abductees' kin to come to Japan before resuming talks on normalizing bilateral ties. Japan has also demanded North Korea disclose information about the other abductees including those the North says have died.

Abe also said the matter involving the other abductees should be a top priority in such negotiations, saying, ''Even if families of the five return to Japan, the abduction issue will not be totally resolved.''

He said that Japan will ''never agree to such compromises.''

In September last year, North Korea admitted it abducted Japanese nationals, and said five were alive, eight were dead and whereabouts of two others were unknown, but their families dispute the claims.

The next month, the North allowed five of the Japanese it kidnapped in the late 1970s and early 1980s to return to Japan. But the five had to leave their kin in the North.

The five abductees now in Japan comprise two couples and a woman. They are Kaoru Hasuike and his wife Yukiko, Yasushi Chimura and his wife Fukie, and Hitomi Soga.

The Hasuikes left two children in North Korea, the Chimuras left three children, and Soga and her husband, who is listed as a deserter by the U.S. military, have two children in the North.

Meanwhile, on the planned six-party multilateral talks on the North Korean nuclear issue, Abe said, ''As a basic rule, nuclear armament by North Korea should not be tolerated.''
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Aug 4, 2003
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