Remarks
Robert R. King
Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues
Japanese Minister for the Abduction Issue Jin Matsubara
Tokyo, Japan
June 8, 2012


MINISTER MATSUBARA (Interpreted from Japanese): As far as Japan's position on the abduction issue is concerned, as clearly stated by Prime Minister Noda in his responses to questions that were raised in Diet sessions, we take the position that no normalization of Japan's relations with North Korea (is possible) without the resolution of the abduction issue.

Furthermore, we share the recognition that it is extremely difficult to provide any humanitarian assistance without resolution of the abduction issue. The other side of the point, though, is if we see progress on the abduction issue from them it allows us to be in a position to provide humanitarian aid.

At any rate, I believe that the issue of abductees by the DPRK is a very grave humanitarian issue and of human rights. I think it is a race against time because of the aging of the families and the abductees. Symbolically speaking, I believe that Japanese as a whole would really sense that the abduction issue has been resolved when they see a scene of the Yokotas embracing Megumi Yokota.

So I would again like to reiterate my welcome to you, Ambassador, and I would also like to request for your continued support in the resolution of this issue.

AMBASSADOR KING: Mr. Minister, as you know, the United States has been very supportive of Japanese efforts to see the return of these abductees. We will continue to follow that policy and are supportive of what you're doing in terms of seeing the enactment of these returns. Japan is a key partner to the United States, and with South Korea, as we seek to resolve the problems and difficulties in our relationship with North Korea, we want to make sure that we coordinate and cooperate with your government on our policy towards North Korea.

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After the Meeting:

AMBASSADOR KING: Minister Matsubara and I had a very good, frank, and open discussion. The United States and Japan are in the same place on the abduction issue, we support the efforts of Japan to see the return of its citizens and will continue to work with Japan in terms of trying to see that they are returned. The conversation was excellent in terms of discussing areas where we can cooperate. Thank you very much.