LEAD: Abe says kin of abductees sent strong message to world.
(EDS: ADDING BACKGROUND IN LAST 7 GRAFS)
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said Monday he believes a group of relatives of people kidnapped by North Korean agents sent ''a strong message to the world'' during their trip last week to the United States, which featured an appearance at a U.S. congressional hearing and a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.
In a meeting with Abe at the prime minister's official residence, Sakie Yokota, 70, the mother of abductee Megumi Yokota, said the meeting with Bush ''was unexpected but I could communicate my feelings firmly.''
''There may be a lot to be done but I hope to gain your support,'' she told Abe.
The relatives are working to pressure North Korea to release abducted people they believe are still in North Korea, including Japanese kidnapped in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Abe said, ''It will be several times more effective for you people to make direct appeals than politicians meeting.''
''We will make diplomatic efforts for the resolution of the problem by working with the United States and other countries, and will apply pressure on North Korea through the United Nations and other channels in the international community,'' Abe said.
Yokota and other members of a Japanese delegation returned home Sunday from a weeklong trip to the United States in a bid to seek U.S. support for pressing North Korea to return all the abductees.
Yokota spoke before the U.S. Congress on Thursday and met Bush at the White House on Friday.
North Korea has admitted abducting Megumi Yokota, who was 13 when she disappeared in 1977 near her home in Niigata Prefecture.
North Korea maintains Megumi Yokota committed suicide in 1994 while being treated for depression. It said she had been married to a man named Kim Chol Jun and they had a daughter, Kim Hye Gyong.
The Japanese government recently said DNA analyses show the possibility is high that Yokota's husband may have been a South Korean man, Kim Young Nam, who was abducted in 1978 when he was 16.
Sakie Yokota and her husband Shigeru, 73, plan to visit South Korea to meet the family of the man.
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|Publication:||Japan Policy & Politics|
|Date:||May 1, 2006|
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