UN Envoy for North Korea to Discuss Kidnapped Japanese in Tokyo Visit

UN Envoy for North Korea to Discuss Kidnapped Japanese in Tokyo Visit

20:09 15.01.2015(updated 21:00 15.01.2015)

UNITED NATIONS, January 15 (Sputnik) – The UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea will visit Japan between January 19 and January 23, with a particular focus on the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea in the 1970s and the 1980s, the envoy said Thursday.

“More than ever, I will pay particular attention to the issue of abductions, which remains of grave concern to me and to the international community,” UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Marzuki Darusman said in a statement.

The issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals has been a stumbling block in relations between North Korea and Japan, which currently have no diplomatic relations with each other. In 2002, Pyongyang acknowledged kidnapping 13 Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s in order to train its own agents in Japanese culture. The North Korea returned five of the abducted, saying the others had died, but Japan said it did not believe it and insisted there had been a greater number of kidnapped citizens.

Darusman said that since his appointment as Special Rapporteur in 2010, he has made several requests to visit North Korea but that access has so far not been granted. Darusman has been visiting other countries in the region such as Japan, Thailand and South Korea.

“This new visit takes place in the context of recent major developments at the UN General Assembly and Security Council on the situation in the DPRK, with significantly increased scrutiny by the international community of the actions of the North Korean Government,” Darusman said on Thursday.

During his visit to Japan, Darusman is scheduled to meet with the Japan’s Foreign Minister, the Minister for the Abduction Issue, families of the abducted, representatives of non-governmental organizations as well as the diplomatic community.

The UN Human Rights Office announced on Thursday that at the end of his Japanese visit Darusman would hold a press conference in Tokyo. The information gathered by the special rapporteur will be presented in the report for the Human Rights Council in March 2015.

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