Tokyo, Feb. 21, 2019 (dpa/NNN) A Japanese opposition leader on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his lack of progress on the issue of Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea decades ago.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Abe agreed to cooperate over the abduction issue as well as North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programmes during a 30-minute phone call on Wednesday.
The conversation came ahead of coming week’s summit meeting in Hanoi between the president and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“I’m very concerned this has all been just a performance so he can pretend he’s working on it,” Yuichiro Tamaki, the leader of the Democratic Party for the People, told newsmen.
Prior to Trump’s first summit meeting with Kim in Singapore in June, Abe was criticised for repeatedly asking the U.S. president to help resolve the issue, instead of negotiating directly with Pyongyang.
Critics say Abe gained popularity by attacking North and South Korea, which were under Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.
However, under Abe’s government, there has been virtually no progress on the issue of Japanese nationals kidnapped by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s.
According to the Japanese government, there are 17 such nationals.
Only five of them were returned alive to Japan in 2002 following a meeting between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and late North Korean leader Kim Jong II, Kim Jong Un’s father, in Pyongyang.
It is unclear what happened to the others.
They were abducted to teach Japanese language and culture to North Korean agents. (dpa/NNN)
Edited by Abiodun Oluleye/Donald Ugwu