Japan ditches rights to focus on abduction

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Japan ditches rights to focus on abduction

The Japanese government announced Wednesday that it won’t submit a North Korean human rights resolution to a UN panel this month as part of its efforts to resolve the issue of North Korean abductions of Japanese.

It marks a break from more than a decade of Japan’s practice of playing a leading role, along with the European Union, in the adoption of such resolutions against Pyongyang by the 47-member UN Human Rights Council.

Tokyo cited a review of all related circumstances, including the results of the Hanoi summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month.

“In the second North Korea-U.S. summit, there was a serious discussion on the abduction issue,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press briefing.

Japan says at least 17 citizens were abducted by North Korea decades ago. Five of them returned in 2002, while a dozen others remain unaccounted for.

Suga noted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement that he is willing to sit down with the North Korean leader to resolve the problem.

As the families of the abductees continue to age, the government will act boldly to seize every opportunity to settle the issue, he added.

The 40th session of the UN council opened in Geneva on Feb. 25. Its member states plan to decide whether to adopt another resolution against North Korea for its chronic abuse of human rights next week. The meeting is scheduled to end on March 22.

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