On Saturday, December 10, 2016, the Government of Japan hosted an “International Symposium: International Cooperation to Seek Accountability for Human Rights Violations in North Korea, Including the Abduction Issue” at the Iino Hall in Uchisaiwai-Cho, Tokyo.
Part 1 International Symposium
(1) Opening Remarks by the Host (Mr. Katsunobu Kato, Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue)
(2) Panel Discussion
Moderator: Dr. Toshiya Hoshino, Professor, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University (former Vice-President of Osaka University)
- Mr. Lee Jung-Hoon, Ambassador-at-large on North Korean Human Rights of the Republic of Korea
- Mr. Hyun Seong-Il, former Senior Researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy of the Republic of Korea
- Mr. Motoo Noguchi, Chair of the Board of the Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
- Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the DPRK (Video Message)
Part 2 Furusato no Kaze mini concert
- Chorus of “Ryoshu” and “Anata wo Wasurenai” (“We Will Never Forget You”) by the “‘Anata wo Wasurenai’ Choral Group”
- Chorus of “Furusato” by all those present
This symposium is held every year from December 10 to 16 as part of North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week. This year’s symposium took place with the attendance of a United Nations official, senior government officials from countries involved, and concerned experts, under the theme of the prevailing trend in international efforts to hold North Korea accountable for human rights violations and the future of international cooperation in addressing such issues.
At the outset, Mr. Katsunobu Kato, Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue, gave opening remarks and explained a recent initiative led by the United Nations, under the direction of Mr. Marzuki Darusman, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the DPRK, which seeks to hold North Korea’s leadership accountable for crimes against humanity and clarified Mr. Darusman’s intent behind it. Minister Kato also spelled out the basic position of the Government of Japan, which aligns with this United Nations initiative, toward resolution of the abduction issue. He stated that, against this backdrop, he would like to discuss effective measures the international community can take to get concrete actions from North Korea to release all the abductees without further delay.
This was followed by a panel discussion with a United Nations official, senior government officials from countries involved, families of abductees, and concerned experts. They took the stage to discuss effectual means of seeking to hold North Korea accountable for its human rights violations, including the abduction of citizens from other countries.
Following the panel discussion, a “Furusato no Kaze” mini-concert was given, in which the “‘Anata wo Wasurenai’ Choral Group” performed “Ryoshu” and “Anata wo Wasurenai” (We Will Never Forget You) . At the end of the concert, families of abductees, as well as those of missing persons whose abduction by North Korea cannot be ruled out , went onto the stage and sang “Furusato” together with the audience.
The symposium was broadcast live to North Korea on short-wave radio and was featured by the Voice of America (VOA), a US radio network targeting North Korean listeners, and by the Radio Free Asia” (RFA) on medium- and short-wave radio.