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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Yokota continues to pressure Cabinet to resolve abductions


Staff writer

Shigeru Yokota, father of abductee Megumi Yokota, criticized the government Wednesday for softening its stance on North Korea.

"Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tried to solve the issue by imposing sanctions against the North, but the present prime minister emphasizes dialogue," Yokota told a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo.

The administration of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda decided June 13 to lift some economic sanctions after North Korea promised to open a new investigation into the abductions of Japanese nationals. The exact timing of when the sanctions will be eased has not been decided.

Yokota, who heads a group of abductees' relatives, and his wife, Sakie, urged the government to confirm that North Korea will conduct a satisfactory investigation before easing the sanctions, and to impose even harsher sanctions if Pyongyang breaks its promise.

Japan expanded its economic sanctions after Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test in October 2006, when Abe was prime minister. Fukuda assumed the post last September.



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