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The Government of Japan hosted an International Symposium - Possible Ways of International Cooperation to urge North Korea to take Concrete Actions to improve the Human Rights Situation in North Korea, including in the Abductions Issue -

The International Symposium Hosted by the Government of Japan, - Possible Ways of International Cooperation to urge North Korea to take Concrete Actions to improve the Human Rights Situation in North Korea, including in the Abductions Issue -, was held at the Iino Hall in Tokyo on Saturday, December 15, 2018.
 December 10 to 16 every year is designated as North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week. This symposium was held as one of the 2018 Awareness Week events. During the symposium, guest panelists from Japan and overseas will discuss possible ways of international cooperation to urge North Korea to take concrete actions to improve the human rights situation in North Korea, including in the abductions issue, and explore the way forward to realize the return of all the abductees to Japan as soon as possible.

Part 1 Commendation Ceremony for Composition Competition on the Abduction Issue
(1) Yoshihide Suga, Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue, commended the award winners
  (three junior high school students and three high school students).
(2) 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:
  Naoyuki Koizumi (Niigata Junior High School Attached to Faculty of Education,
          Niigata University, 2nd grade) [Essay]
High school category:
  Nozomi Fujioka (Ehime Prefectural Matsuyama Higashi High School, 1st grade) [Essay]
[Second prize]
Junior high school category:
  Kanata Masui (Matsusaka Municipal Chubu Junior High School, 1st grade) [Essay]
  Touka Takaya (Nantan Municipal Sonobe Junior High School, 3rd grade) [Essay]
High school category:
  Mayu Okajima (Fukushima Prefectural Aizu Agriculture and Forestry High School, 1st grade) [Essay]
  Kodai Tani (Fukushima Prefectural Taira School for Special Needs Education, 3rd grade) [Essay]

Part 2 International Symposium
(1) Opening remarks (Mr. Yoshihide Suga, Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue)
(2) Appeal by the Families of the Victims of Human Rights Abuses by North Korea
   Presenters: Mr. Fred Warmbier (Father of Mr. Otto Warmbier)
        Mr. Michael and James Sneddon (Brothers of Mr. David Sneddon)
        Mr. Shigeo Iizuka (Chairman of the Association of Families of Victims Kidnapped
               by North Korea)
        Mr. Takuya Yokota (Secretary-General of the Association of Families of Victims
               Kidnapped by North Korea)
        Mr. Shoichi Osawa (President of the Family Association of the Missing Persons
               Probably Related to the DPRK)
(3) Panel discussion
   Moderator: Mr. Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, the Committee for Human Rights
                in North Korea (HRNK)
   Panelists: Mr. Evans J.R. Revere, Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
                East Asian and Pacific Affairs, United States of America
       Mr. Youngshik Bong, Research Fellow, Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies,
                Yonsei University, Republic of Korea
       Mr. Kimio Yakushiji, Professor of Ritsumeikan University, Japan

Part 3 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 the Headquarters for the Abduction
     Issue,and Investigation Commission on Missing Japanese Probably Related to N.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) "Furusato (Hometown)" by all the artists and students from Tachikawa Dainana Junior High School

 As Part 1, Commendation Ceremony for Composition Competition on the Abduction Issue was held. Minister Suga commended the award winners and the first prize winners recited their essays.

 As Part 2, International Symposium was held.
 Mr. Yoshihide Suga, Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue, appealed as follows in his opening remarks.
 The abductions issue is a matter of grave concern pertaining to the sovereignty of Japan as well as the lives and safety of the Japanese citizens, and our country must take responsibility to solve it. At the same time, it is also a universal issue for the international community as a whole, as it is a violation of fundamental human rights. In June 2018 at the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting, President Trump directly raised the abductions issue with Chairman Kim Jong-un at the request of Prime Minister Abe. This was quite a big achievement, and I am aware that it has provided a breath of fresh air. North Korea possesses abundant resources and diligent labor. If it effectively utilized those to walk the right path, we could imagine brighter future. We are determined to break the shell of mutual distrust, resolve the nuclear and missile issues and the abductions issue which is of utmost importance, and seek to settle the unfortunate past and normalize our relations with North Korea. With a determination to never miss an opportunity, we are committed to making our utmost efforts to realize the return of all the abductees to Japan as soon as possible, regardless of whether they are officially identified or not.
 After the opening remarks, the families of the victims appealed the misery of human rights abuses by North Korea in their own words. During the panel discussion, guest panelists from Japan and overseas discussed possible ways of international cooperation to urge North Korea to take concrete actions to improve the human rights situation in North Korea, including in the abductions issue, and explore the way forward.

 As Part 3, 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 the performers and students from Tachikawa Dainana Junior High School sang "Furusato (Hometown)" together with all the participants in the hall.

 The symposium was aired live on the radio program in collaboration between Japan and the United States. Additionally, the Mini-concert of Part 3 is broadcasted into North Korea on both "Furusato no Kaze (Wind of Home)" and "Shiokaze (Sea Breeze)."


   
       (Part 1 Commendation Ceremony for Composition Competition on the Abduction Issue)

   

   
                (Part 2 International Symposium)


      (Part 3 Mini-concert)
    

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