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The Government of Japan hosted an International Symposium "Prospects of Applying Strong Pressure - Effects of Sanctions and Future Vision"

The International Symposium Hosted by the Government of Japan, "Prospects of Applying Strong Pressure - Effects of Sanctions and Future Vision," was held at the Marubiru Hall, in Marunouchi, Tokyo on Saturday, December 16, 2017.

Part 1 Commendation Ceremony of “North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week Essay Contest” (1) The Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue, Katsunobu Kato, commended the award winners (three    junior high school students and three high school students).
(2) The First Prize winners recited their essays.

Part 2 International Symposium
(1) Opening remarks (Mr. Katsunobu Kato, Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue)
(2) Keynote lecture (Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the    Democratic People's Republic of Korea)
(3) Panel discussion
   Moderator: Mr. Atsuhito Isozaki, Associate Professor, Keio University
   Panelists: Mr. Lee Jung Hoon, Professor, Yonsei University, Republic of Korea
          Ms. Jenny Town, Assistant Director, US-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins University, U.S.A.
          Mr. Hajime Izumi, Professor, Tokyo International University

Part 3 Mini-concert (Joint recording of radio programs to North Korea by "Furusato no Kaze" and "JSR Shiokaze", co-hosted by the Secretariat of Headquarters for the Abduction Issue, and Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North-Korea)
(1) A gathering to sing the song "Anata wo Wasurenai (We Will Never Forget You)" by a chorus of the family    members and supporters of abductees
(2) "Sora to Umi no Mukou (Beyond the Sky and the Sea)" by Ms. Ayaki Yamaguchi,
   "Togireta Michishirube (Broken Milestone)" by Ms. Yumiko Usami, and
   "Wait a While - Sono Hi wo Shinjite (Believe That the Day Will Come)" by Ms. Saya
(3) Medley by all performers ("Pechika (Pechka)," "Takibi (An Open Fire)," "Yuki no Furu Machi wo (In a      Snowy Town)," and "Furusato (Hometown)")


  December 10 to 16 every year is designated as North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week. This symposium was held as one of the 2017 Awareness Week events. Representatives of the United Nations and experts from Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea were invited to discuss the effects of international sanctions on North Korea and future prospects, with the goal of effecting the earliest possible return of the abductees.

  Mr. Katsunobu Kato, Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue, made the following opening remarks.

 The abductions issue is the Abe Cabinet’s top priority and the most important issue for the government to settle responsibly. At the same time, the international community needs to work together closely and apply maximum pressure on North Korea to change its policies in order to settle the various issues related to North Korea. International pressure on North Korea and condemnation towards North Korea’s repeated provocations have intensified to unprecedented levels. It is vital that the international community be united in fully implementing measures in line with the UN Security Council’s resolutions which were unanimously adopted. North Korea has an industrious labor force as well as underground resources. If it were to make use of those, there could be a path towards North Korea dramatically growing its economy and improving public welfare. That is where North Korea’s bright future lies. By failing to resolve the abductions issue, there is absolutely no future for North Korea. The Government of Japan will do its utmost to achieve the earliest possible return of all abductees.

  Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, followed Minister Kato with the keynote lecture on the status of serious, ongoing human rights violations in North Korea and efforts to improve the situation by the United Nations and the international community. During the panel discussion after the lecture, experts from Japan, the US and the ROK discussed the effects of strengthened international pressure on North Korea and possible future approaches.

   After the panel discussion, Minister Kato delivered the following closing remarks.
 
 In North Korea, the nuclear weapons and missile programs have progressed. There is no meaning in having dialogue only for the sake of dialogue and it may rather exacerbate the situation. It is important that the international community express strong concern about North Korean human rights violations, including the abductions issue, and exert maximum pressure to create a situation in which North Korea will seek dialogue with us. North Korea has to understand that there is absolutely no future for North Korea by failing to resolve the abductions issue, and choose the path of either ‘cooperation and prosperity’ or ‘isolation and demise.’ Japanese abductees anxiously await rescue in North Korea, where a harsh winter looms. North Korean citizens are waiting to be saved from appalling human rights violations. We will continue to make our utmost efforts to make it possible at the earliest possible time for separated families to embrace each other again and regain the freedom and dreams taken away from them, and to bring smiles and hopes for the future to oppressed children.

  Before the panel discussion, Commendation Ceremony of “North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week Essay Contest” was held. Minister Kato commended the award winners and the first prize winners recited their essays.

List of award winners(Click on the "Essay" links which accompany the names and schools of each winner to read the essays.)
[First prize]
Junior high school category:
  Ai Katabe (Anan City Manicipal Fukui Junior High School, 3rd grade) [Essay]
High school category:
  Shota Hanayama (Shigenobu School for Special Needs Education, 2nd grade) [Essay]

[Second prize]
Junior high school category:
  Yume Tanaka (Takikawa City Manicipal Meien Junior High School, 2nd grade) [Essay]
  Kenshin Sasaki (Tobe Town Manicipal Tobe Junior High School, 2nd grade) [Essay]
High school category:
  Yuuka Yamazaki (Hokkaido Kitami Ryokuryo High School, 1st grade) [Essay]
  Kensuke Fukushima (Keiai Gakuen Senior High School, 1st grade) [Essay]

  After the panel discussion, a Mini-concert (Joint recording of radio programs to North Korea by "Furusato no Kaze (Wind of Home)" and "Shiokaze (Sea Breeze)," co-hosted by the Secretariat of Headquarters for the Abduction Issue, and Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to North Korea) was held. A gathering to sing the song "Anata wo Wasurenai (We Will Never Forget You)" by a chorus of family members and supporters of abductees was followed by the singing of "Sora to Umi no Mukou (Beyond the Sky and the Sea)" by Ms. Ayaki Yamaguchi, "Togireta Michishirube (Broken Milestone)" by Ms. Yumiko Usami and "Wait a While - Sono Hi wo Shinjite (Believe That the Day Will Come)" by Ms. Saya. Lastly, all of the performers appeared on stage and sang several songs together, including "Furusato (Hometown)."

  The symposium was aired live on the government's radio program, "Furusato no Kaze (Wind of Home)" in Japanese and was also broadcasted into North Korea in the Korean language in collaboration with the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Additionally, the symposium was later broadcasted on NHK World TV and NHK World Radio Japan.

   
(Part 1 Commendation Ceremony for Essay Competition in Conjunction with North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week)

   
                          (Part 2 International Symposium)


          (Part 3 Mini-concert)
    

  • Anime Megumi
  • A quick picture of the abduction issue
  • Request for Information