CEAC Commentary

June 26, 2018 

The Risk of the Abuse of

the Abduction Issue by North Korea


Since the US President Donald Trump had announced in early March that he had intention to meet Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea directly following the Inter-Korean summit, some press and specialists have been exhorting the Government of Japan to keep up with this political momentum and to prepare the Japan-North Korea summit promptly. Whether being influenced by such suggestions or not, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe also expressed his expectation of the top-level meeting between Japan and North Korea; his first priority seems to be the settlement of the abduction issue of Japanese citizens.

Responding to the positive statement by the Prime Minister Abe, Chairman Kim instantly sent an affirmative message that “we open the door for the negotiation with Japan at any time.” However, it is necessary for us to analyze carefully if this seemingly constructive attitude of North Korea is trustworthy. Because, we suspect that Pyongyang swindles us by making wrong use of the abduction issue.

Needless to say, the cases of the abductions of Japanese citizens are international crimes committed by the despotic state, North Korea. Hence it is absolutely needed that the criminal must release the hostage not only immediately but also unconditionally. As a matter of course, the provisions of the criminal code of Japan state that the criminal charged with abduction, kidnapping or human trafficking has to serve some years in prison. Justice must be done.

Nevertheless, it seems that some of news reports have attempted to keep criminality of North Korea out of view by developing a kind of syllogism: release of the abductees by North Korea shows that they value ‘peace and humanity,’ ‘peace and humanity’ is praiseworthy, therefore North Korea deserves to be highly praised. In addition, they tend to argue this problem by separating from the current crucial North Korea crisis, namely the issue of the denuclearization, including the principle of complete, verifiable, irreversible, dismantlement (CVID). As far as the considered Japan-North Korea summit is concerned, they have been conveying an erroneous impression that if Chairman Kim pledges somewhat resolute step towards deliverance of Japanese victims, the Government of Japan will lift the economic sanctions against North Korea as a quid pro quo and will proceed to the normalization of the bilateral relations.

From such a placatory position of mass media on this issue, the strategy of North Korea is conjectured as follows: the first step may be to lure the Government of Japan by emphasizing that it is a rare chance to resolve the abduction problem, while keeping Japan in suspense. The second step is to allow only a few selected Japanese abductees to come back home, so in return Japanese side would mitigate the present level of the economic sanction. And the third is to gain huge amounts of economic assistance under the pretext of the normalization. At that time, ‘the director’ maybe, of North Korea must dramatize moving scenes such as reunions of separated families after many hard years so as to bring tears to the eyes of people, with aim of setting Chairman Kim up as a heroic liberator, although his real position is nothing but a criminal to be accused.

To our regret, there is a real possibility that the Government of Japan being deceived by the tricky appeasement policy of North Korea. Because, Prime Minster Abe has reiterated the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, which refers to Japan’s economic aids after the normalization of the relations, in connection with the abduction issue. This stream seems to be analogous to so-called “the Surprise Diplomacy” of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi who visited North Korea unannounced and signed the above-mentioned declaration in September 2002. Will the Government of Japan be entrapped by North Korea again?

As one might say that Satan abuses goodness, the strategy of North Korea may be a sort of fraud which abuses the human rights, in fact the abduction issue is a serious crime against humanity. Nobody can criticize the resolution of this problem, even if they have prudently penetrated the concealed political tricks of North Korea; most of the people have psychologically refrained from objecting the negotiation with North Korea in fear of harsh bashing by the mass media and public opinions induced by the former. Consequently, the voluntary discontinuance of state crimes skillfully can be shrouded in an illusion of a good deed with no penalty under the name of ‘peace and humanity,’ and North Korea can pave the way for the status eligible to obtain a vast sum of ‘donation’ from Japan. For all that, after the implementation of these economic aids, North Korea, having being well funded, is likely to resume the nuclear and missile development programs again.

Considering those risks, it seems to be judicious not to be stirred up by the media manipulation trying to drive the trends of public opinions to support the swift opening of the Japan and North Korea negotiations. Both of the government and the people of Japan should stare straight at the immorality of North Korea.

(This is an English translation of the article written by KURANISHI Masako, Political Scientist, which originally appeared on the e-forum “Hyakka-Somei (Hundred Ducks in Full Voice)” of CEAC on May 22, 2018.)