January 26, 2023
TOKYO – Yasushi Chimura, who was abducted by North Korea in the 1970s, met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Prime Minister’s Office Tuesday and urged him to hold a summit with North Korea to secure the return of other abductees still being held in the country.
“Please work to realize a Japan-North Korea summit so that as many survivors as possible can return to Japan,” Chimura, 67, told the prime minister before handing him a petition calling for a resolution to the abduction issue. The prime minister expressed his willingness to meet directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and said, “I will continue my efforts to make use of every opportunity.”
Chimura was kidnapped in 1978 from his hometown of Obama in Fukui Prefecture, along with Fukie, his now wife. The couple currently live in Obama after having been returned to Japan in October 2002 with three other abductees, following a Japan-North Korea summit held a month earlier.
Tuesday was the first time for Chimura to meet with a prime minister since March 2019, when he met with then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“My heart aches from the lack of progress on the abduction issue,” Chimura told reporters after the meeting with Kishida. “I did sense the prime minister’s eagerness to work toward resolving it.”