Japanese abductees` kin heighten vigil amid N Korean succession

Relatives of Japanese nationals abducted by N Korea met to exchange views at what they see as a crucial moment for their efforts to save the abductees.

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2010, 16:14 PM IST

Tottori: Relatives of Japanese
nationals abducted by North Korea met to exchange views at
what they see as a crucial moment for their efforts to save
the abductees, following signs of beginning of the succession
process in Pyongyang.

"Until now, North Korea has had its hands full, dealing
with domestic problems and unable to negotiate with Japan, but
that is now over," said Lee Young Hwa, a North Korea expert at
Kwansei Gakuin University. "Crunch time is at hand for (the
resolution of) the abduction issue."

Lee referred to Kim Jong Un`s rise to power as successor
to his father, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

The gathering was organized yesterday by the government
body in charge of the rescuing the abductees and Tottori
Prefecture in the city of Yonago in the western Japanese
prefecture. The city was home to Kyoko Matsumoto, one of the
abductees who went missing in 1977 aged 29.

Her brother Hajime, 63, said at the meeting that their
mother is already 87 and showing symptoms of dementia,
expressing hope for his sister`s return as soon as possible.

PTI